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DM Keith adds Ford and Kia franchises with Ringways Group acquisition

DM Keith directors Angus Keith (left) and Dougal Keith

DM Keith has completed the acquisition of the Leeds-based Ford and Kia franchised car retail business Ringways Group.

Hunslet-based AM100 dealer group DM Keith signed-off on the deal on Friday (July 2), adding Ringways’ Ford and Kia dealerships in Leeds and a Kia dealership in Doncaster to its existing portfolio of 10 franchised locations.

Both car manufacturer brands are new to a DM Keith network previously comprised of seven Skoda, two Seat and one Honda dealership.

The deal is the first acquisition made by the business since it added Skoda, Seat and Honda dealerships in Grimsby through a deal which secured the coastal town’s Westgate Motor Group back in 2018.

DM Keith managing director, Dougal Keith, said: “We are very excited to represent two new brands Ford and Kia, within our portfolio alongside our existing franchise partners. 

Ringways Ford dealership in Leeds“Ford being the UK number one top selling brand, with a market share of 33% on commercial vehicles and Kia which is at the forefront of their electric vehicle rollout plan, means it is a great time to join brands who are evolving and futureproofing for the everchanging market. 

“The acquisition of Ringways; a well-known and respected business in the Yorkshire area, enables us to continue to invest in our business for future and sustainable growth. 

“We have a long-term desire to increase our portfolio and the addition of two fantastic brands is a huge step in the right direction. 

“The expansion will see DM Keith move from 91 to the top 60 AM100 businesses, which is a lifelong ambition of mine.”

Stephen Russell, managing director at Ringways (left) and Angus Keith, director at DM KeithDM Keith said that the Ringways acquisition would take its combined annual turnover to £250m.

Keith added: “Myself and the whole DM Keith team are looking forward to welcoming Ringways into the DM Keith family.”

A statement issued to AM by DM Keith this afternoon (July 6) described the acquisition of Ringways as “a great strategic fit” for two businesses culturally aligned with a focus on family values.

All Ringways employees have been transferred to DM Keith, which now employs 445 employees – up from 290.

The specialist automotive team at UHY Hacker Young led by David Kendrick and Paul Daly advised on the deal.

Kendrick, Automotive Partner at UHY said: “This deal has been in the offing for nearly two years but with COVID in 2020 it was always going to delay things – delighted we have finally managed to get it over the line.

"It is a great addition to the DM Keith group, especially strengthening their representation in Leeds, as well an elegant exit for the shareholders of Ringways."

NatWest provided funding support for the Ringways acquisition. 

Adam Turvey, senior relationship manager at NatWest, said: “It’s an exciting time for DM Keith as they continue to build on their successful portfolio.

“The business has shown incredible resilience over the last year and the expansion demonstrates just how successful it has been despite challenging economic climate. We wish them every success for the future.”

A team from Yorkshire law firm Gordons, led by Partner Duncan Firman, advised DM Keith on the acquisition. 

Steven Millward led a team from Schofield Sweeney LLP (including Jessica Fielden and Alex Aitken) who advised the outgoing shareholder.

DM Keith has been established in the Yorkshire area for more than 55 years and has operated a Škoda dealership in Leeds since 1976.

Ringways Group was founded in 1954, opening its first premises on Whitehall Road, Leeds, where its flagship Ford dealership still stands today.

In the 1970s the business expanded into South Yorkshire, with the opening of a dealership on York Road, Doncaster.

The creation of a new Ford Leeds dealership in 2004 was followed by the development of a standalone Kia showroom on Crow Nest Lane, Leeds, in 2018.

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