South Africa’s Imperial buys UK auto dealer Pentagon

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Imperial Holdings has bought a British automotive dealer group for 493 million rand ($36.97 million) to continue expanding beyond its home market, it said on Tuesday.

Imperial said its wholly owned vehicle division Motus had indirectly acquired all of Pentagon Motor Holdings, which operates 21 prime retail dealerships in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and greater Manchester.

“Imperial has strong global partnerships with leading vehicle manufacturers and we are delighted to expand our international retail footprint into the passenger and light commercial vehicle market in the UK through the acquisition of Pentagon by Motus,” group Chief Executive Mark Lamberti said in a statement.

Imperial, which sells imported vehicles and runs a car rental agency in South Africa, has sold assets it considers non-core, including a short-term insurance unit as it aims to make the firm’s business less vulnerable to swings in the value of its home market’s volatile rand currency.

“This acquisition is consistent with Motus’ strategy to deploy capital and its vehicle retail expertise in pursuit of growth and returns beyond South Africa,” Motus CEO Osman Arbee said.

In the year to December 2016, Pentagon generated revenue of 495 million pounds ($636.32 million).

The transaction is effective from Sept. 1.

($1 = 13.3359 rand)

($1 = 0.7779 pounds)

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