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Pendragon adds 14 sites
5 June 2006

Author: Stephen Briers

Pendragon has consoled itself after its bid for Lookers was rejected in April by purchasing Midlands-based Speeds Motor Group for an undisclosed amount.

The deal was not announced to the City or to Pendragon shareholders.

“It was not of a scale to trigger Stock Exchange rules,” says Pendragon chief executive Trevor Finn of the purchase, which was agreed on March 31.

The acquisition adds nine Volvo dealerships, swelling Pendragon’s representation to 20 sites – almost 15% of Volvo’s UK network, and 12.8% of its new car sales. Pendragon also takes two Volvo wholesale sites and three ChryslerJeep outlets.

Finn says he has known the Speed family for a long time and says chairman Ted Speed was ready to retire, while his son and chief executive Martin intended to focus on property developments.

Pendragon has taken on all other staff and is expected to rebrand the 14 sites under its premium Stratstone trading name.

Speeds will add around £80m turnover and 14 sites to Pendragon’s total, taking it to £5.35bn and 406 outlets.

Pendragon has accelerated its expansion programme in the two years since the purchase of CD Bramall, suggesting it no longer feels constrained to fully absorb a big purchase into the business before targeting its next conquest.

Aside from buying Reg Vardy in March, the group last year acquired the bulk of Priory, some Honda sites from Dixon and entered the value sector with Hyundai and Kia.

“Speeds is a good business whose franchises fit with ours. This deal is a good example of the type we will continue to do,” Finn says.
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