STEVEN Eagell Group has led the way for UK Automotive in the latest Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250.
A total of 13 auto-related businesses featured in the league table, which ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales, and it saw Steven Eagell enter straight in at 31.
The company, established in Milton Keynes in 2002, has 22 dealerships plus one aftersales centre and prides itself as Britain’s largest Toyota and Lexus retailer, with branches across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk. Last year, its turnover rose by 21 per cent to reach £426.7m, returning a profit of £10.1m – an increase of a whopping 78 per cent.
Not far behind at 34 is AvailableCar. Founded and owned by husband and wife Graham and Alison Bell, it opened its first used car supermarket in 2002 in Castle Donington. This was followed by a site in Sutton in Ashfield in 2007, one in Cannock in 2012, and a fourth one in Leeds in 2016. This steady growth saw it post sales of £421.1m to the year ending December 2018 – a rise of 16 per cent – with profit soaring by 24 per cent to £12m.
In at 67th position – and third as far as the automotive industry is concerned – is Hatfields. Established in Sheffield in 1922, it was one of the first Jaguar dealerships in the world. Since then, it has expanded to sell the Land Rover, Hyundai and Volvo brands as well across 10 dealerships, enjoying a profit of £10m – up by 24 per cent – on a seven per cent increase in sales of £297.8m.
The others were as follows:
90: The Trade Centre Group (sales up by 44 per cent to £257.4m, profit up by 46 per cent to £22.4m; year end November 2018)
104: Day’s Motor Group (sales up by 10 per cent to £231.3m, profit up by one per cent to £10.1m; year end December 2018)
126: Big Motoring World (sales up by 15 per cent to £206.0m, profit up by 27 per cent to £8.4m; year end December 2018)
131: Motordepot (sales up by 35 per cent to £199.8m, profit up by 18 per cent to £8.4m; year end August 2018)
148: Toomey Group (sales down by four per cent to £183.3m, profit up by 27 per cent to £7.6m; year end December 2018)
159: Cotswold Motor Group (sales up by 17 per cent to £173.3m, profit up by 47 per cent to £3.8m; year end December 2018)
187: Dingbro (components distributor – sales up by 12 per cent to £153.1m, profit up by 21 per cent to £10.1m; year end September 2018)
208: Saxton 4×4 (sales up by nine per cent to £138.0m, profit up by 122 per cent to £6.6m; year end June 2019)
216: Riverside Motor Group (sales up by 21 per cent to £132.9m, profit up by 32 per cent to £3.0m; year end December 2018)
Meanwhile, IM Group, which is firmly established in the automotive, property and finance sectors, came in with a bullet at number three. For the year ending December 2018, it had an operating profit of £82.5m – down by nine per cent – on sales worth £661.8m, which were up by 15 per cent. Within IM Group, automotive arm International Motors saw turnover rise to £33.2m from £31.2m in 2017, with pre-tax profit rocketing by 49.4 per cent from £16.2m to £24.2m.
International Motors operates in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, and has a presence in China as well where, in 2005, it opened the Vehicle Certification Agency in Beijing as a franchise of the UK government agency. It also exports Autoglym cleaning and care products to the Asian nation. International Motors imports and distributes Subaru, Isuzu, Citroen and DS models, and it has franchises for Great Wall too. In addition, Specialist Motor Finance Ltd was created by IM Group.