JCT600 splashes out eight-figure
sum to snap up rival dealership

CAR dealer JCT600 has bought rival dealership Gilder Group, taking it to 50 branches and strengthening its position in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Bradford-based JCT600 bought the £200m turnover Gilder operation from outgoing chief executive Garry Scotting in a deal thought to be worth between £20m and £30m.

JCT600 confirmed it had paid an eight-figure sum.

All of Sheffield-based Gilder’s workers will be kept on, taking JCT600’s workforce from 1,350 to over 1,800.

The purchase includes nine of Gilder’s car and commercial vehicle dealerships, two parts depots and a body shop.

The businesses will trade as part of JCT600 and the deal will boost the company’s annual turnover to over £850m.

JCT600’s chief executive, John Tordoff, said: “This acquisition is another leap forward for us as a group, strengthening our coverage geographically and adding some more strong dealerships to the group.

“We are growing our workforce by a third, adding over 30 per cent to our revenues and taking on nine new dealerships, making this the biggest deal JCT600 has ever done.”

In 2009 the group bought York and Hull Audi from Gilder.

Mr Tordoff said: “We know from that experience that we are buying a business with fantastic staff, loyal customers and high standards of care.

“Garry has built a solid, profitable business since he took control of The Gilder Group in 2002, and one that will dovetail perfectly with our existing operations and give us further economies of scale and increased buying power.”

Mr Scotting said Gilder will continue to have a presence in Sheffield as it is keeping its three Gilder Honda sites.

Mr Scotting, who is retiring from the business, will keep his shares in the group.

“The acquisition marks an end of an era for me, one of which I am extremely proud,” said Mr Scotting.

“My first interaction with Volkswagen and Audi came in 1980 at Gordon Lamb.

“After joining Gilders in 1985, I was able to further pursue my career with the brands and when I was given the opportunity of taking control of the group 11 years ago it was a business opportunity not to be missed.”

The Gilder Group was founded in 1938 by William Gilder in Sheffield and became the first Volkswagen dealership to open in the UK in 1953.

JCT600 was established in 1946 and has become one of Yorkshire’s largest private companies.

In recent years John Tordoff has made a number of acquisitions to expand the group.

It now offers 21 vehicle brands from Audi, Bentley and Ferrari 
to Porsche, SEAT and Volkswagen.

The nine dealerships that will change hands include Audi dealerships in Sheffield and Doncaster, Volkswagen dealerships in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Rotherham and Newark, VW Commercial Vehicle dealerships in Sheffield and Newark and a SEAT dealership in Sheffield.

In addition JCT600 has bought the Gilder Paint & Body Repair Centre in Sheffield and two trade 
parts specialists in Lincoln and Sheffield.

A team from Yorkshire law firm Gordons led by head of corporate James Fawcett advised JCT600.

Mr Fawcett said: “We are delighted to have supported JCT600 through this hugely important deal.

“We have worked closely with John and finance director Nigel Shaw for many years and it has been great to do so again.”

James Sparling of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and Peter Helliwell of HSBC provided the funding package to support the acquisition and refinance the enlarged group in preparation for future expansion.

Mr Sparling said: “JCT has been a Lloyds Bank customer for over 40 years, during which time we have supported the business every step of the way along its journey of expansion. We’re fully supportive of its latest, key strategic acquisition.”

Martin Beckett, director of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Yorkshire Complex Deal team, added: “We have worked closely with Nigel Shaw and his team to help structure a package of support that enabled this deal to happen and to ensure that the enlarged group can realise its long-term growth aspirations.”

Peter Helliwell, HSBC Senior Global Relationship Manager with the Yorkshire Corporate team, said: “JCT remains one of the most pre-eminent businesses in Yorkshire, based on its management team’s focus on excellent customer service.

“We look forward to supporting the group as it continues to grow and becomes one of the largest motor retailers in the country.”