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Marubeni moves up AM100 with Norton Way deal

Marubeni Auto Investment will move up 10 places in the AM100 to No 17 following its acquisition of fellow AM100 group Norton Way Motors.

Manchester-based Marubeni, which owns the RRG Group in the north west of England, was ranked 27th in the AM100 with £288 million turnover.

It has now added £153 million with the purchase of Hertfordshire-based Norton Way’s two Honda outlets – including its flagship Chiswick site – one Peugeot and one Mazda outlet.

Marubeni finance director, Arran Bangham, told AM that Norton Way will be run by Marubeni as a separate business to RRG Group.

“All staff are retained and all the management team, including managing director David Grainger, remain in place,” said Bangham.

“Honda fits with Marubeni’s acquisition profile.”

This approach fits in with the Marubeni way of doing business, according to one analyst.

The main change for Norton Way will be in the way it now reports financial data to Marubeni’s Japanese parent company.

“The Marubeni formula is to find groups with good management that it can invest in and leave the existing management in place,” the analyst told AM.

“They have the money to expand their investments, so it’s a good way for a family business to grow without always risking their own cash.

You might speculate that David Grainger isn’t actually selling up, he’s just taking on a partner.”

Honda is a new franchise for Marubeni, which made the approach to Norton Way.

RRG Group operates Toyota, Lexus, Peugeot and Mazda.

This is the second acquisition in recent years for Marubeni Auto Investment which is headed in the UK by chairman Takashi Kiso.

In 2006 it bought four Smith Knight Fay Toyota and Lexus dealerships after owner European Motor Holdings came under carmaker pressure to sell them.

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