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Inchcape plc, the international automotive services group, has bought five Mercedes-Benz and Smart dealerships, increasing its total UK representation to eight sites and creating the largest contiguous territory for Mercedes-Benz and Smart in the UK.

The acquisition of Southwell Motor Co. Limited on 25 June 2004, and its subsidiary company Leadley Limited, adds four businesses in Derby, Nottingham, Loughborough and Mansfield to Inchcape’s portfolio. These sites complement the group’s existing market area of Mercedes-Benz and Smart dealerships in Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford.

On 30 June 2004 Leadley Limited will acquire an additional dealership in Leicester thus increasing the total number of dealerships purchased to five. These sites are together expected to generate new car sales of 2,700 units and used car sales of 1,800 units a year.

The total payment is expected to be around £28 million of which £15 million is for the equity of Southwell Motor Company and about £3 million for assumed debt. The remainder is for the Leicester business and two freehold properties. Total consideration will be satisfied by £2 million of loan notes, with the remainder in cash.