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Vertu becomes Honda's largest franchisee

Vertu Motors has bought more Honda dealerships to become the UK's largest retailer for the brand.

It has paid £3.7m for the trade and assets of leasehold Honda dealerships in Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland from Springfield Cars.

It leaves Springfield focused on Citroen, Fiat and Suzuki car franchises plus LCV sales for Fiat, Citroen and DFSK.

The total consideration includes goodwill of £0.8m. At the same time, Springfield has invested £300,000 cash in 797,872 Vertu Motors shares at 37.6p per share, under an undertaking not to sell these within 12 months.

Vertu said the 2011 accounts for the acquired businesses showed a turnover of £29.2m and operating profit before tax and interest of £0.3m.

Due to the timing of the acquisition, the dealerships are expected to make a small loss in the three months to the end of the Group’s current financial year and to become earnings enhancing in the year to February 2014.

The Durham and Sunderland dealerships will be leased from Springfield.

Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors, said: "We are pleased to have acquired these Honda dealerships in the North East.

"We will integrate these new sites into our existing portfolio of Honda dealerships which is already well established in the East Midlands and Yorkshire, with a strong operational management team.”

"We are delighted to be growing our representation with Honda, and in so doing, becoming their most significant franchise partner in the UK.

"These are well established businesses, and we are confident that they will quickly generate a positive return for the Group."

Nick Campolucci, Honda UK's head of dealer development, said: "This change is good news for Honda customers in the region, who will notice no difference during day-to-day business. Vertu Motors has a strong affinity with Honda’s core principles and we look forward to a long and profitable relationship at these sites.”

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