MARSHALL Motor Holdings has completed multi-million-pound purchases of six Skoda franchised dealerships, making it the UK’s largest retailer of the Czech brand.
The group acquired the business and assets of Leicester and Nottingham Skoda from Sandicliffe Ltd on January 31, then bought the business and assets of Bedford, Harlow, Letchworth and Northampton Skoda from Progress Bedford Ltd on February 28.
Taking into account the goodwill and fixed assets, it is forking out £3.5m in total. Marshall said the businesses made aggregate pre-tax losses of about £400,000 in the 12 months to December 31, 2018. As a result, the transactions are expected to weaken earnings in the current financial year but enhance them in future years.
The group now represents the Czech brand in 11 locations in the UK: Barnstaple, Bedford, Croydon, Harlow, Leicester, Letchworth, Newbury, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford and Reading.
Skoda has enjoyed strong growth in recent years. In 2018, it achieved 74,512 registrations, representing a UK market share of 3.2 per cent, and has seen a 13 per cent growth in the past five years, driven by significant product development, particularly across the SUV segment, which is expected to increase further with the introduction of new models this year.
The brand is part of the Volkswagen Group, which is to invest almost €44bn (circa £37.7bn) on electrification and new mobility services.
Marshall chief executive Daksh Gupta said: ‘These acquisitions are an exciting milestone for Marshall in which we become Skoda’s largest UK retailer by adding six further sites in excellent locations, which are contiguous to our existing Skoda sites. The acquired businesses have good potential for growth and improvement in their operating performance as part of a scaled and focused division.
‘We believe it is the right time to grow our portfolio with Skoda and these acquisitions demonstrate our commitment to our stated strategy to grow with existing brand partners in new geographic territories. We are very proud to represent the Skoda brand and wish to thank the Skoda UK management team for their support over the years and we look forward to building on our excellent relationship.
‘I would like to welcome all colleagues of the acquired businesses to Marshall.’
Skoda UK director Rod McLeod said: ‘Marshall Motor Holdings is a well-respected and established vehicle dealership group.
‘These acquisitions will see Marshall become our largest retail investor and I am very pleased that together we will continue to expand our offer of class-leading products to customers across the UK. Skoda continues to go from strength to strength. With the arrival of new models and the brand’s first electric vehicles just around the corner, this is a key time for Marshall to further invest in Skoda.’
Writing on LinkedIn, Gupta said the purchases were in line with Marshall’s aim of becoming the UK’s premier automotive retail group.
‘These acquisitions are another textbook example of our strategy in action – to grow scale with the right brands in the right markets. We first entered the brand in 2013 as a result of the Silver Street acquisition in Barnstaple, Croydon was added in 2015 with the SG Smith acquisition and Ridgeway in 2016 added Reading, Newbury and Oxford.
‘Skoda has done amazingly . . . and we are proud to represent the brand. I would like to thank the brand for their support and our Marshall colleagues involved in these recent acquisitions.’
He added that he was looking forward to meeting the new Marshall colleagues and finished by saying: ‘That’s two deals and six sites added in 2019. I might put my feet up now – oops, forgot results next week!’