EUROPEAN Motor shareholders may have to stump up pounds 20m before the end of the month to fund expansion at the motor retail and services company, writes John Shepherd. Richard Palmer, chief executive, said negotiations on a significant acquisition were at an advanced stage.
The stock market reacted adversely to the news, even though European announced pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March up 50 per cent at pounds 5.1m - slightly better than expected. European has boosted its total dividend by 21.4 per cent to 4.25p through a final payout of 2.525p, against 2p the year before. Analysts have upgraded profit expectations for the current year from pounds 6m to pounds 6.25m.
Mr Palmer declined to say what the company was aiming to buy. However, he said European was keen to expand its motor dealerships, particulary for Vauxhall and Rover.
European has 13 different car franchises, operating out of 19 sites. Dealerships include seven Volkswagen- Audi, two Citroen, three Volvo, and a spread of outlets for Japanese car makers.
Car sales rose sharply in 1993/94. Used sales climbed by 32 per cent to 6,362 cars, and new vehicles accelerated by 15 per cent to 4,345.
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