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Crichton cashes in

In the money: Ateco governing director Neville Crichton.

Ateco Automotive owner makes a tidy profit by selling UK retail shares to Bentley

25 Mar 2008

MILLIONAIRE Kiwi automotive baron Neville Crichton is believed to have made a massive profit after selling his recently acquired shareholding in British luxury-car retailer HR Owen to Volkswagen-owned car marque Bentley Motors.

The news agency Reuters reported last week that Bentley Motors has agreed to buy a 27.9 per cent stake in HR Owen, which sells Bentley cars under the Jack Barclay franchise in London.

While the identity of the seller or the price paid was not disclosed, Mr Crichton increased his shareholding in HR Owen to 27.08 per cent on February 21 through his holding company Balverona.

Overseas reports are valuing Bentley’s stake at about £9 million ($A19.8 million) and have quoted HR Owen chief executive and Bentley sources as saying the transaction removed speculation over the future ownership of the group.

Bentley regards Jack Barclay as its most important dealership in the world.

HR Owen has reportedly undergone substantial restructuring over the past two years, selling off more than 30 sites and concentrating on its main London outlets and key branches in places such as Manchester.

It sells a range of prestige marques, including Volkswagen-owned Lamborghini and Bugatti, BMW-owned Rolls-Royce and Fiat-owned Ferrari.

Through Balverona, Mr Crichton owns Ateco Automotive and European Automotive imports, which between them import and distribute Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Ferrari and Maserati vehicles in Australia and New Zealand.

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