RICHMOND Motor Group, which operates dealerships across Hampshire and Surrey, has announced the acquisition of four Sparshatts Group dealerships.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, adds two Skoda sites, one Suzuki site and one Mitsubishi site to Richmond’s portfolio, with the additional dealerships being in Fareham and Botley, both in south Hampshire.
The group now has 12 franchise locations and one used car supermarket, covering an area from south-west London to Portsmouth and Southampton. The company employs more than 500 people.
Plans for an additional four franchise locations within the next 12 months would see the Portsmouth-based group expand to 17 outlets.
The growth of Richmond has been led by entrepreneur Michael Nobes, pictured, the sole owner, founder and managing director.
Born and bred in Portsmouth, Nobes started his automotive career as a part-time valeter while still at school. Through hard work and determination, he has built the business from a single Hyundai site in 1995 to the quarter-of-a-billion-pound empire it is now.
Nobes said: ‘The acquisition is key to diversifying the group’s portfolio to ensure long-term resilience in a tough UK market.
‘Despite a general downturn in the UK automotive sector, all our existing businesses have seen significant year-on-year growth, which is testament to the fantastic team of people we employ. We intend to apply many of the Richmond cutting-edge processes to the Sparshatts business to leverage profitability and returns.’
In a joint statement, Louis Jones, managing director of Sparshatts, and Nobes said: ‘This is a deal that works for everyone. Richmond acquire the franchised businesses to diversify their portfolio of brands and it allows an exit strategy for some of the Sparshatts directors whilst allowing others to reinvest and expand in a consolidated used car business.
‘It works for all the brands involved but most importantly all the existing staff are retained in one of the two businesses.’
A number of the Sparshatts directors have retained the company name and their non-franchised used car outlets. The franchise businesses will now be rebranded under the Richmond umbrella.
Fraser Brown, managing director of MotorVise, who brokered the deal, said: ‘I am delighted this acquisition has come to fruition. It’s one of those deals that works for all parties: the Sparshatts team, all three franchises, and clearly it massively enhances the Richmond business.
‘I’m so proud to have been supporting Michael and his team for the last six years and I’m delighted that this acquisition has seen them shoot up the top 100 dealer group league. Richmond are special customers who readily adopt new ideas, are open-minded and truly customer focused.
‘That’s what has driven one of the fastest, self-funded growths I’ve seen in the UK automotive sector.’