Alcopa wants to sell car retail division
Antwerp based group Alcopa wants to sell its car retail division. The car holding of the Moorkens family is looking for buyers for its car retail business Modis (Belgium/Luxembourg).
Alcopa is also an independent car importer in Belgium and imports brands like Hyundai, SsangYong, Suzuki and Isuzu and the company has the intention to continue these import activities.
End of last year Dutch car group Van Mossel, controlling 72 car dealerships in the Netherlands, showed some interest, but there is no deal yet. “We’re looking at the Belgian market”, explains owner Eric Berkhof, “but Modis is not the only opportunity.” Van Mossel also owns DirectLease and J&T AutoLease in Belgium.
The car retail business Modis represented one third of the annual turnover of Alcopa last year (totaling 2 billion €) and represents 40% of the total workforce (2.300 people). So the sale is a very important move for the group.
Modis consists of 4 parts, all regrouping dealers of different brands throughout Belgium and Luxembourg. Despite the rumours about a possible sale, Modis is still very active, recently buying the premises of an important Toyota dealer in Zaventem and starting up the first DS dealership in Limburg.
Retailing cars is becoming a difficult business in Western Europe. That’s why there’s a large consolidation wave: big groups invest heavily to make dealers profitable again and even in Belgium, with its finely-woven dealer network, big (and rich) foreign groups are buying into dealerships all over the country.
On a European scale Alcopa is too small to play an important role in this retail battle. That’s why it wants to leave the sector, it has also announced that it wants to sell its participation in the French car dealer Group Bernard. This group is fairly big in France (1 billion € turnover last year selling cars and trucks). “But we’re not at the steering wheel here”, says an Alcopa source, “so our policy is to sell our shares.”
In fact the two biggest independent car importers in Belgium are following the same path. VW importer D’Ieteren is also diversifying its portfolio outside the automotive business, for example buying the Italian company Moleskine (notebooks, etc.).
Alcopa is going in the same direction. “We are no car company”, says Alcopa chairman Axel Moorkens, “we are a marketing firm, we have great expertise in the marketing of products, like cars. Why shouldn’t we use this expertise to market other products?”