Car auctioneer BCA on route to £1.2bn listing

BCA sold 900,000 vehicles last year, which is more than 2.5 times as many as its nearest rival in Europe

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The Independent Online

BCA Marketplace, the renamed British Car Auctions, is steering itself towards a £1.2bn flotation.

The biggest seller of used vehicles in Europe said it planned to raise £200m of new cash. The private equity house Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which currently owns 70 per cent of the shares, and management, who have 30 per cent, will sell part of their holdings into the float.

The offer will be open to institutional investors only.

“We are no longer just British, deal not just in cars and do it not just through auctions,” said Jon Olsen, who has been chief executive for the past 11 years. “We operate in 13 countries – 12 in Europe and Brazil, sell light vans and motorcycles as well as cars, and last year bought the WeBuyAnyCar website.”

BCA sold 900,000 vehicles last year, which is more than 2.5 times as many as its nearest rival in Europe. It largely buys from manufacturers, leasing companies and large dealerships, and sells mainly to independent used car dealers through auctions.

It posted revenues of £442m in 2013.

At least 25 per cent of the company’s shares will be up for sale, with more likely to be sold if demand is strong. BCA used to be listed on the London market before its was taken over by the Conservative donor and peer Michael Ashcroft in 1987. He sold it to private equity in 2006.

Rothschild is financial adviser on the deal while UBS and JPMorgan Chase are underwriters on the offer.

Meanwhile Cargiant, which is both a competitor and a big customer of BCA, has announced a 69 per cent rise in profits in 2013 to £30.2m. It sold 47,600 cars and sales so far this year are up 20 per cent.

New car market sales at 10-year high

New car sales hit a 10-year record for September last month as new registration plates were introduced. 

However, the 5.6 per cent rise in registrations was well behind the 18 per cent surge seen in March, the other new plate month.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the figures indicated that demand was “starting to level off”. Its chief executive Mike Hawes said: “September’s strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September’s bumper volumes.

“In the months since March the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate.”

March and September together account for one third of annual new car sales.