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Steven Eagell set to acquire six Vantage Motor Group dealerships

Steven Eagell, chief executive of the Milton Keynes-based Steven Eagell Group

Steven Eagell Group is in-line to acquire four Toyota and two Lexus franchises in and around Birmingham from Vantage Motor Group, AM understands.

An AM source said that staff at the sites involved in the acquisition and disposal process have already been informed ahead of official confirmation of completion of the deal this week.

The move would form part of a flurry of disposals by Vantage following its acquisition from founder Mark Robinson in a management buy-out (MBO) in December.

In an interim trading update published via the London Stock Exchange yesterday (March 3), Vertu Motors announced that it had completed the £4 million acquisition of its Kia and Honda businesses in Bradford.

If completed, the deal with Steven Eagell is understood to involve: Vantage Toyota and Lexus Birmingham; Vantage Toyota Solihull; Vantage Toyota Tamworth; and Vantage Toyota and Lexus Wolverhampton.

Steven Eagell would offer no comment when contacted by AM and attempts to contact the new ownership team at Vantage Motor Group proved unsuccessful this week.

Vantage Motor Group revealed details of a 14.3% decline in profit before tax in a set of 2018 financial results published in January – a month after the MBO.

The Knaresborough-based retail business, which founder Mark Robinson sold to chairman Phil White, finance director Tim Swindin and operations director Andrew Mallory in December, saw pre-tax profits decline to £1.3m as turnover rose 1.6% to £284.7m in the period ended December 31, 2018.

Swindin said: “Trading has been difficult in 2019 with performance in the first half of the year in particular being below our expectations.

“As a result of this under performance, a number of cost saving actions have been taken. We have also closed two loss making businesses in the third quarter of this year.

“While we anticipate a disappointing result for 2019, the board believes that the actions taken in the second half of the year will put the company in a strong position for 2020.”

Like Vantage Motor Group, Steven Eagell Group was originally formed with the support of Toyota and has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years.

In 2017 the Milton Keynes-based retail group added to its Lexus representation with the acquisition of Lexus Milton Keynes from the AM100-topping Sytner Group.

That deal came less than a year after the group followed up the acquisition of its first Lexus dealership, Hatfield Lexus from Lookers, with the acquisition of two Lexus franchises and six Toyota sites in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk from Jardine Motors Group.

In January last year Steven Eagell was crowned Best Lexus Group as its won a hat-trick of awards at the annual Lexus ‘Centre of Excellence Awards’.

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