Lookers in £60m deal for Fords

MOTOR dealer Lookers has boosted its number of Ford outlets with the acquisition of Dutton Forshaw in a deal worth up to £60m.

MOTOR dealer Lookers has boosted its number of Ford outlets with the acquisition of Dutton Forshaw in a deal worth up to £60m.

Lookers, which operates from 111 outlets, said the 31 sites owned by Dutton Forshaw – the motor retail division of Lloyds TSB Asset Finance – strengthened its presence in the South-East and North-West of England.

The Dutton Forshaw Motor Company was founded by Richard Dutton-Forshaw in Lancashire in the early 1960s. It is headquartered in Bicester and trades as Dutton Forshaw across England and Wales and as Dovercourt Ford in Essex and Dovercourt VW in London.

The company also operates the Kent sales territory for Mercedes-Benz and Smart, as well as holding franchises for around a dozen other leading manufacturers, including Honda, Peugeot, Citroen and Chrysler Jeep.

The acquisition will increase Lookers’ number of Ford outlets from one to eight, Mercedes-Benz outlets from four to eight and VW outlets from five to nine. The £60m price tag includes the assumption of up to £32m of debt. Manchester-based Lookers picked up its first Ford outlet at the start of last month. It also has around 25 of Ford’s luxury brand dealerships, covering the Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo marques.

Chief executive Ken Surgenor said: “This acquisition provides Lookers with an ideal opportunity to broaden our geographical spread and to deepen our relationships with our manufacturer partners, including our newer partners Ford and Mercedes-Benz.

“We are delighted to have acquired such high quality dealerships and we remain focused on growing Lookers organically and by acquisition.”

In 2006, Dutton Forshaw generated sales of £431m, reported an operating profit of £3m and had gross assets of £129m. Last month Lookers delivered forecast-beating interim pre-tax profits of £18.1m, up 41% on the same period last year and ahead of the £17.5m expected by analysts.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer