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Cambria Automobiles CEO leads MBO bid for AM100 car retail PLC

Mark Lavery, chief executive of Cambria Motors

Cambria Automobiles chief executive Mark Lavery, finance director James Mullins and managing director Tim Duckers are exploring the possibility of a management buy-out of the AM100 PLC.

A statement issued via the London Stock Exchange this morning (March 22) revealed that the luxury car retail group’s board had consented to exploration of the possibility of the trio acquiring the entire share issue at a price of 80p per share.

Cambria's share price opened at 71.1p this morning.

Today's statement said that, while “there can be no certainty” that an offer will be made “a further announcement will be made when appropriate”.

It added that Cambria's management team are now required to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for the company or announce that they do not intend to make an offer for the company no later than 5pm on April 19.

In its most recent trading update, for the five month period to January 31, 2021, Swindon-based Cambria said that improved performance had come as a direct result of “COVID-related cost actions taken by the Group in the 2019/20 financial year”.

Cambria announced in an update back in September that it was embarking on series of cost-cutting measures which included a "significant reduction" in employee headcount.

On March 3 it reported that this, combined with the board’s utilisation of Government support packages, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant and business rates relief, had helped to deliver “pleasing” financial results.

The group said that it net debt balances as of February 28 totalled £5.7m, adding: “Throughout the pandemic, the Group has remained up to date with all of its VAT payments and has not utilised the VAT deferral scheme."

However, Cambria’s trading update, issued via the London Stock Exchange, said: “The various Lockdown and Tiering strategies, particularly through the important plate change month of March, will have a material impact on the Group’s financial performance in the year to 31 August 2021 and, as a result, the Board deems it prudent to continue the suspension of financial guidance to the market.

In a recent interview with AM, Cambria chief executive, Mark Lavery, said he was keen to get back to trading from car showrooms on April 12, but respected Government’s cautious approach to easing the latest Lockdown.

He said: “In lockdown one we didn’t lock down quickly enough and we took a long time to come out; in lockdown two we didn’t lockdown quickly enough and we came out too quickly. Let’s hope this time Government is taking the right approach.”

Lavery, who is already Cambria's largest shareholder with a 40% stake, said that he had been impressed with his business’s switch to remote sales and customer engagement and suggested that the latest lockdown had been less painful than those that came before, when “awful decisions” had to be made to implement redundancies and make cuts to safeguard the business.

Led by Lavery, Cambria’s leadership team oversaw a shift into supercar sales which took place largely in its 2017/18 financial year.

November 2018 saw the group open its second Lamborghini franchise (Tunbridge Wells), a move into its new Hatfield Aston Martin and McLaren dealership and occupation of the newly completed Hatfield Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Arch Concept dealership.

The move has seen the group add resilience, according to its trading statement, through improved margins.

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