Canadian group AAG makes £465m offer for Lookers

A Canadian dealer group Alpha Auto Group through a bidding vehicle Bidco has tabled a £465m bid for dealer group Lookers.

AAG describes itself as a leading operator and consolidator of car dealerships with 15 large scale new vehicle dealerships across Canada and the United States. It is one of the largest auto retailers based in Canada.

On its website AAG describes its acquisition strategy. “AAG is well funded, can quickly close transactions and has the scale and infrastructure to ensure the continued growth your store or group.

“If you are a dealership owner contemplating sale as part of your succession planning, seeking external capital for growth or otherwise interested in selling all or a part of your operations, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.


Lookers CEO tells AM the car dealer group is set to expand

Lookers will look for safe expansion routes, including partnering exciting Chinese new entrants, as the car dealer aims for growth in the years ahead.

Chief executive Mark Raban joined us in the studio for the AM News Show podcast recording a few weeks ago, prior to the announcement of a takeover bid for Lookers from the owner of Canada's Alpha Auto Group, when he outlined some of the elements of its strategy to increase in scale.

The AM100 dealer group went through a rough patch from 2019 to 2021, and subsequently restructured and improved its corporate culture. Raban said his Lookers colleagues have strengthened the core business and created a platform from which it can safely expand.


JCT600 saleswoman caught after pocketing £24k of buyers' deposits

A saleswoman at a car dealership in Yorkshire was caught ripping off the AM100 dealer group JCT600 after she'd asked customers to pay her cash deposits, against company policy.

While Donna O'Melia (33) was employed by JCT600 Seat in Bradford she began began taking cash payments from customers and keeping the money.

An investigation began after the dealer group's accounts teams noticed peculiarities, and it found she had taken £23,704 in cash payments, Bradford Crown Court was told.

She had taken the money to fund a gambling addiction, the court heard this month.

At an earlier hearding in February O'Melia pleaded guilty to theft by an employee, and Bradford Crown Court heard that O'Melia, who had no legal representation, had no previous relevant convictions.


Swansway director Peter Smyth to speak at VRA event

Swansway director Peter Smyth is to give a presentation on the current challenges facing dealres at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA)

An update on the current situation facing motor manufacturers will be provided by Dale Wyatt, director of automobile at Suzuki GB.

A panel discussion on mental health and wellbeing in the remarketing sector will follow featuring Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director at motor industry benevolent charity BEN.

Stephen Whitton, founder of [M]enable, which is the VRA’s mental health partner organisation; and William Bentley, development officer at Compass, which provides wellbeing consultancy and training solutions.


Macklin Motors launches helmet design competition

Macklin Motors has launched a competition to design a helmet for up and coming racing driver Ronan Pearson.

The winning helmet design will be unveiled on the 12 August at Knockhill racing circuit.

To ensure broad participation and attract diverse design ideas, the competition has been extended to several design schools across Scotland. However, Macklin Motors is keen to emphasise that individuals of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to enter the competition, fostering an inclusive environment for budding designers to showcase their talent.

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Macklin Motors, said: “The Macklin Motors helmet design competition presents an incredible platform for designers across Scotland and beyond to unleash their creativity and leave an indelible mark on the world of motorsport.


Cambria profits increase in 2022 as firm flourishes in private hands away from Stock Market

In the group’s first set of financial results since it left the Stock Market, Mark Lavery’s firm revealed turnover increased marginally to £566.2m from £563.1m the year before.

Profit before tax surged 21.9 per cent from £21.5m the year before.

The results cover the firm’s financial year which ended on August 31 last year and have recently been posted at Companies House. Cambria left the Stock Market in September 2021.

The firm said these annual results included a one-off charge of £800k in relation to taking the group private. They also lay out how the deal was funded.

In 2022, Cambria sold 12,951 vehicles – down from 15,128 the year before – but ‘despite this, revenues were broadly in line year on year’, explained the dealership group.