British Auto Distribution Company Acquires Majority Control of Felix Ang's CATS Group of Companies

IMAGE FACEBOOK/CATS MOTORS

London-based listed company Inchcape plc is acquiring 60 percent of CATS Group of Companies, the local distributor of leading luxury automotive brands in the Philippines, the British company announced on via a disclosre to the London Stock Exhange and on its website on Tuesday (January 17). 

The deal will see Inchcape, a leading global automotive distributor expand its footprint in Asia Pacific as well as strengthen its relationships with brands that CATS Motors distributes in the Philippines, which includes Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Jaguar and Land Rover. It will also be the first time that the company will work with RAM, which is also under CATS’ portfolio.

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The remaining 40 percent of CATS Motors will still be owned by the Ang family, led by Felix Ang, who founded the company in 1989 and originally called it Car Accessories Tires and Services. The Ang family and its associates will also continue to be represented on the CATS Board and in the management team by Felix Ang. 

According to the statement, CATS is expected to add an estimated £120 million (around P8.05 billion) of annualized revenue and be accretive to the Group’s operating margin. 

“We are very pleased to be entering the Philippines, a country with a large and fast-growing economy, where CATS is the leading distributor of luxury vehicles,” Ruslan Kinebas, CEO Inchcape APAC said. “The Ang family has built long-standing successful relationships with its OEM brand partners and its customers. We are looking forward to building on their achievements and accelerating the company’s digitalization journey, driving the business to further success.

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“This acquisition is a significant milestone for Inchcape in APAC and an excellent example of our Accelerate strategy in action; extending our global distribution leadership by expanding our OEM brand footprint in markets where vehicle penetration is low but expected to grow quickly,” Kinebas added. “The combination of Inchcape’s leading global position and digital and data capabilities means we are well placed to successfully execute our strategy to accelerate growth both organically and via industry consolidation.”

Founded in 1847, Inchcape’s modern presence in Asia Pacific started in 1967 with the acquisition of Borneo Motors, a company founded in 1925 to distribute vehicles in Singapore. It has since expanded significantly across the region and today distributes new vehicles and parts in Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Guam, Macau, New Zealand, Saipan, Singapore and Thailand for a large portfolio of OEM brands: Toyota Motor Corporation, Subaru, Suzuki, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW Group, Chevrolet, Great Wall Motors, Peugeot Citroen, Harley-Davidson, Daimler Trucks and Buses, Hino and other commercial vehicle partners.

In 2021, Inchcape opened a Digital Delivery Centre in the Philippines, providing digital and data analytics support and insights for the Group. Inchcape APAC is headquartered in Singapore and employs around 3,400 people across the region.

Meanwhile, CATS Motors transitioned into a distributor of several luxury vehicle brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM, in 2004. In 2017 it was awarded the distribution rights for both Jaguar and Land Rover. It also operates dealerships for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Mazda. The company has 450 employees across its distribution and retail operations.

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The transaction remains subject to customary conditions with completion anticipated in the second half of 2023.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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