Over the past three years Hartwell has built a 28 per cent stake in Trimoco, which made pre-tax losses of pounds 578,000 last year compared with profits of pounds 2.5m before.
Hartwell yesterday converted loan stock to ordinary shares taking its stake to 39 per cent, automatically triggering a bid.
Hartwell's chief executive, John Wei, said: 'We want to consolidate our holding. We will be happy with any level of acceptance.'
Hartwell is offering 17.5p a share, Trimoco's closing price. The motor group T Cowie, bidding pounds 28m for Henlys, is believed to own 4 per cent of Trimoco.
The Jameel Group, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies, bought Hartwell's 40 dealerships after a fierce struggle in 1990.Reuse content