Published: 08:00, 24 October 2017
Car retailer Motorline has continued its expansion with the takeover of three dealer businesses from a Kent car seller which suffered heavy losses last year.
The Canterbury-based company has also acquired a site in Ashford as part of the transaction with the KAP Motor Group for an undisclosed sum.
It comes after KAP’s annual accounts revealed it tumbled into losses of £994,000 last year, reversing a profit of £474,000 in 2015.
It said gross profit had been hit after it decided to restrict the number of self-registered cars it took on its forecourts in 2016, which led to “generally a poor year”.
However, turnover only dipped 6% to £69.2 million and bosses said they are confident the firm will return to profit this year.
The purchase of new dealer businesses brings Motorline’s total number of dealerships and trade parts centres to 53 across the UK, including three dealerships in Crawley due to open early next year.
The takeover is for KAP’s Nissan Ashford and Peugeot Ashford businesses – bringing its total Nissan dealerships to nine, its second largest brand partner after Toyota.
It has also acquired KAP’s Folkestone Peugeot dealership business.
This will no longer trade from KAP’s headquarters in the town, although it is unclear what will happen to the company.
Motorline chairman Glen Obee did not refer to the Folkestone business in his statement on the takeover.
He said: “The company is delighted to have acquired the Ashford Nissan & Peugeot businesses which fit perfectly into the group’s existing Kent representation for both brands.
“The group has already identified a number of operational synergies which will complement our existing Nissan & Peugeot operations.
"The company is delighted to have acquired the Ashford Nissan & Peugeot businesses which fit perfectly into the group’s existing Kent representation for both brands..." - Glen Obee, Motorline
“The two new dealerships increase to five the number of dealerships in Ashford and further strengthens the group operations in east Kent.”
Tunbridge Wells and Dartford-based law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore advised the Motorline Group on the acquisition.
Partner Joanne Gallagher said: “We have acted for the Motorline Group for a number of years and are delighted to have advised in connection with another successful acquisition.
“The deal further strengthens Motorline’s share in the Nissan market, as well as the group’s overall presence across Kent.
“We look forward to continuing to assist Motorline in its future expansion and growth plans.”