Crampton Automotive set to be sold in $30m deal

Toowoomba Holden on James St.
Toowoomba Holden on James St. Bev Lacey

BUSINESSMAN Mark Crampton plans to sell his automotive empire to national giant AP Eagers for $30 million.

AP Eagers is in the process of buying Crampton Automotive Group, including West-Star Motors, Toowoomba Holden - representing Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Peugeot, Citroen, Performax, HSV and Holden brands - and Port City Autos in Maryborough/Hervey Bay.

The Crampton Automotive Group employs 170 staff and generates annual revenue of about $130 million.

AP Eagers Queensland general manager Keith Thornton said the company intended to keep all existing staff and principals running the businesses.

He praised owner Mr Crampton.

"Mark Crampton has developed an extremely well-managed dealership operation achieving above-benchmark returns and being one of the top performing regional dealers for a number of franchises represented," he said.

"The company is growing fairly consistently and we're really encouraged by businesses in south-west Queensland."

Mr Crampton said if the process was successful it "wouldn't make a difference".

"I believe AP Eagers' intentions are to continue operations along the same basis that they have been operating," he said.

Toowoomba Holden.
Toowoomba Holden. Bev Lacey

If the acquisition is successful, it's the second Toowoomba-based purchase by AP Eagers in two years; buying Black Toyota Group in 2014.

The transaction with Crampton Automotive Group is subject to satisfactory due diligence, completion of formal transaction documentation and manufacturer approval. It is expected to be completed by June.

AP Eagers' total estimated consideration of $30 million is inclusive of goodwill, estimated net assets and transaction costs, without vehicle inventory.

The consideration reflects expected sustainable earnings from existing operations of about $6 million a year.

It will be funded through one million ordinary AP Eagers shares to the vendors and cash drawn from available funds and existing debt facilities.

AP Eagers closed on the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday at $11.83.

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