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Arnold Clark expands with Citroen acquisition

Arnold Clark has bought the Alistair Fleming Citroen dealership in Kilmarnock from collapsed parent business TOM Group.

The deal for the business and assets has saved 21 jobs, according to administrators from EY.

Last autumn TOM Group closed its two other Alistair Fleming Citroen dealerships in Ayr and Dundee, less than three years after buying three-site Alistair Fleming Group.

At the end of March Colin Dempster and Fiona Taylor of EY’s restructuring team were appointed joint administrators of TOM Group, a commercial vehicle hire, sales and services business with subsidiaries TOM Vehicle Rental and Caledonian Truck & Van.

The rest of the group ceased trading and 342 employees were made redundant across eleven locations in Scotland and England.

A total of 86 members of staff will be retained at the group’s head office in Airdrie and across the depot and commercial vehicle dealership network for up to four weeks to assist the administrators with an orderly wind down of the business and respond to any customer queries.

EY said TOM Group had faced challenging trading conditions in recent months.

"Considerable efforts had been made to restructure its operations and, when that proved too difficult, the owners marketed it for sale. Unfortunately, no suitable interested parties emerged from the sale process, due to the scale of the losses and the investment required to turn the business around. Due to the Group’s lack of liquidity and increasing pressure from creditors, the directors had no option but to seek the appointment of administrators," said its statement.

Dempster said: “Despite the best efforts to save the group, it could not continue to operate as a going concern and Administrators were appointed. It is with regret that 342 people have been made redundant. Our specialist team will work with those affected to help them claim outstanding wages and other payments due from the Redundancy Payments Office.”

TOM Group accounts at Companies House show a total turnover of £161m in 2016, and profit before tax of £3.8m.

The Alistair Fleming subsidiary made a loss of £457,000 from turnover of £29.8 million in the year to March 2017.

The accounts show TOM Group was part of Jersey-based Angus Bidco, which in turn is owned by private equity firm Equistone Partners.

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