Business

Wilsons Auctions acquires English sites to aid British expansion

Wilsons Auctions sell more than 100,000 cars a year

IRELAND'S largest auction house Wilsons Auctions is expanding its operations in Britain with the acquisition of two sites in England.

The Mallusk-headquartered group already had three auction sites in Britain at Dalry (Scotland), Telford (England) and Queensferry (Wales).

Now it has bought the former SMA Remarketing Newcastle Centre from British Car Auctions (BCA) for an undisclosed sum and a seven-acre premises at Maidstone in Kent.

BCA purchased the SMA group last June for a reported £43 million but had to sell off the Newcastle operation after concerns were raised by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Wilsons Auctions Group operations director Peter Johnston said the company was "delighted with both of these acquisitions".

"The location, premises and staff in Newcastle, will be an excellent complement to our future plans for the region and will enable us to build on the business already retained by the site," he said.

"We have many existing contracts that we currently service in both the Newcastle and Maidstone areas, and these new acquisitions will enable us to strengthen our offering and reduce existing logistics costs."

Wilsons Auctions was created in 1936 by William Wilson, with his son Ian (64) currently holding the position of group managing director.

Last year, the company improved its turnover by 2.4 per cent in the 12 months to March 2015h, up from £10.8m to £11.1m as the group generated a profit margin of 45 per cent.

Around a fifth of current turnover (£1.98m) is generated from activities in the Republic.

Overall operating profit dropped back to £716,904 from £999,681 a year earlier but profit before tax more than doubled from £292,827 to £768,023.

In Ireland, it trades from Mallusk and Portadown in the north and has two sites in Dublin.

As well as selling more than 100,000 vehicles a year, it holds regular auctions on behalf of government bodies, police forces and enforcement agencies to items such as jewellery, speedboats, holiday homes, motorbikes, supercars, art, classic cars, planes, gold bullion and diamonds.

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