Fleet News

Shake-up sees group grow by a third

SANDERSON Bramall has grown by a third and swapped daily rental for contract hire in a major shake-up of its operations. The Harrogate-based group has simultaneously swallowed up smaller Yorkshire rival Charles Sidney and unloaded the majority of its stake in Thrifty Car Rental to the hire firm's management.

The acquisition of the under-performing dealer group follows Sanderson Bramall's failure to buy Appleyard, which was last month snapped up by the Lancaster group and the disposal of Thrifty marks a move to focus on core activities. The offer values Charles Sidney's 20 dealerships and contract hire operation at some £37.4 million while the disposal of 62.5% of Thrifty will net Sanderson Bramall £7.5 million.

The acquisition is the latest development in the ongoing realignment of the retail motor industry which has so far this year seen Henlys and Britax abandon car selling altogether, and Lex radically reduce its network while groups like Pendragon, Dixons and Reg Vardy have eagerly snapped up the cast-offs.

Sanderson Bramall represents a wide range of franchises - predominantly in the North of England while Charles Sidney is best known for its Mercedes car and truck dealerships, but also owns volume dealerships nationwide. The acquisition catapults the combined outfit into the top five dealer groups, extends its geographical coverage and gives it a better showing in the prestige car sector plus a foothold in the contract hire market.

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