Southwest based Helston Garages Group is set to be broken up and sold to three dealer groups. Vertu is expected to take the majority of the dealerships with neighbouring Yeomans taking the Volkswagen Group franchises and Rybrook taking the Porsche operation.
According to Auto Retail Agenda sources, staff were told about the potential sale on 9 November, just ahead of a Stock Exchange announcement by Vertu which stated there was the potential for a transaction.
The Vertu PLC statement said: “Vertu Motors confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding the potential acquisition of Helston Garages Group Limited, a privately owned predominantly premium manufacturer automotive retail group based in the Southwest of England. These discussions may or may not lead to a transaction. Funding for the transaction, were it to occur, would be from re-financed and new debt facilities, including long-term mortgage funding.”
Helston operates 37 franchises across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset including five Volvo, five Peugeot, five BMW, four Mini, four Jaguar Land Rover, four Skoda, two Volkswagen cars, two VW Commercial Vehicles, one Audi and a Ferrari dealership. The group also has two used car operations.
The group’s accounts for 2021 show the firm had a turnover of £626.7 million and a pre-tax profit of £30.4m. The return on sales was 4.9% and more than double that of any previous year.
The 2021 turnover figure was up from £511.6m in 2020, but down on its 2019 figure of £643.4m.
Auto Retail Agenda also understands that should the sale be successful it is likely to be completed by the end of the month.