Fleet News

Management team in £113m buyout of Dutton-Forshaw

A MANAGEMENT team is to acquire the motor distribution group Dutton-Forshaw, which includes Masterdrive Leasing & Rental, from its parent Lonrho plc for £113 million. The management buyout encompasses 30 franchised dealerships, trading as Jack Barclay, Dovercourt and Dutton-Forshaw in England, Savilles Auto Village in Northern Ireland and Dutton-Forshaw Machinery, as well as Masterdrive's 10,000 strong fleet.

Total group turnover for the year to the end of September 1997 was £480 million. Masterdrive's managing director Bob Rider will sit on the main group board. He said the acquisition spelled good news for Masterdrive and that customers would not notice the difference. 'It's the same people providing the same service with the same ethos in the company. We are a service company in a service industry, and we want long term relationships with our customers,' said Rider.

He added that Masterdrive was at the right stage for its next growth plan, after the successful launch of short term rental and commercial vehicle operations in 1997. 'Our venture capitalists are keen we continue to do what we do best, which is grow the business on a careful basis, and make sure there is a margin left,' said Rider.

On the dealership side, Dutton-Forshaw holds 14 franchises, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi, VW, Rover, Vauxhall, Ford and Peugeot. Venture capitalist CVC Capital Partners backed the deal, and has a strong track record in taking companies public, suggesting that a stock market flotation will feature in Dutton-Forshaw Group's future.

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