North West motor retailer Lookers, with four significant dealerships along St Mary’s Way in Stockport, has returned a strong financial performance and continues to invest significantly in its national dealership network.
In the first half of 2016, revenue increased by 33% to £2.34 billion (2015: £1.75 billion).
Following the agreement to purchase the Drayton Group, the four-time winner of Mercedes-Benz Retailer of the Year award, Lookers have acquired Knights Group BMW and MINI – their first BMW and Mini dealerships.
The £55.4m purchase of Drayton Group includes 7 dealerships, bringing the number of Lookers Mercedes-Benz locations in the network to 14. The £27m purchase of Knights includes six dealerships, bringing the total of Lookers dealerships nationwide to 166.
The acquisitions are another show of confidence by the company in the wider UK automotive market and follows other key acquisitions, including last year’s £87.5m purchase of North East based Benfield and its 30 strong dealership portfolio.
The purchase of Drayton Group is expected to be complete towards the end of October and comes as Lookers refocuses its attention on expanding its core Motor Division following the recent agreement to sell the Parts Division for £120m.
Knights BMW and MINI has dealerships in Stafford, Stoke and Crewe where staff will join Lookers’ 8,000 existing colleagues.
Both BMW and MINI continue to increase in popularity in the UK with BMW increasing sales by 12% in 2015 compared to 2014, a new UK record for sales per year. MINI also produced a record year with an 18% increase in sales on the previous year. Such a positive performance helped the BMW Group achieve a market share of 8.7% of the total UK car market in 2015 (BMW 6.3% and MINI 2.4%).
Lookers Chief Executive Andy Bruce said: “The acquisition of Knights is one of our 2016 business priorities and fits with our two key business objectives; firstly, to deliver an outstanding customer experience and secondly, to make key acquisitions that enhance stakeholder value through the addition of great brands in prime retail locations.
“Knights is another perfect fit for Lookers and allows us to offer our customers an even wider choice of fantastic vehicles. We are excited to be adding BMW and MINI to our list of brands due to their history of producing some of the world’s most celebrated and iconic cars.
“While we are currently experiencing a period of significant expansion, Lookers still feels like a family business that takes pride in caring about its people. We believe every one of our dealerships is unique, with its own local profile of customers.
“We continue to see a lot of opportunity in the prestige car market as demand increases among the UK’s discerning motorists and have no doubt that the BMW and MINI dealerships we have acquired will continue to thrive as part of Lookers.”
Adjusted Profit Before Tax increased by 16% to £50.1 million (2015: £43.1 million) and Net debt significantly reduced to £74.9 million (31 December 2015: £161.7 million).