Swedes interested in Belgian car dealerships
The Swedish group, Bilia, has just created Bilia Holding Flanders to reinforce its presence in Belgium. More and more foreign groups seem to be very interested in the Belgian car distribution, especially of premium brands.
Belgian dealers were for a very long time family matters. That is changing quickly now with the growing interest of foreign groups in the Belgian car retail.
Stefan Nordström, CEO of Bilia AB, has confirmed that the group has created a Belgian daughter, Bilia Holding Flanders, to reinforce its position in the Belgian dealer landscape. They already own (in partnership) two BMW dealerships in the south of Belgium (Arlon and Libramont) and one in Luxembourg.
In Belgium the group only sells BMWs now, but in other countries they sell a lot of brands, like cars from Volvo, Toyota, Lexus, Mini, Dacia and Hyundai and transport vehicles from Renault, Toyota and Dacia.
Bilia AB is active in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and is also present in the sector of car washers, gas stations and financial services linked to the automotive. In 2017, it sold 52.900 new cars and 47.633 second-hand ones with a turnover of 2,64 billion euro (a 15% increase). The operational margin is 3,7%. In the first half of 2018 turnover has already increased again by 9%.
Bilia AB is not the only Swedish company being interested in Belgium. In the beginning of this year another Swedish group, Anders Hedin Invest Group, has distinguished itself by buying several dealerships in the Antwerp region, while it had already bought seven Mercedes dealerships in 2017 in the western part of Flanders. With 1,3 billion euro of turnover, this group weighs half of Bilia AB.
In a very capital intensive market like car retail there is also a Swiss player manifesting itself. Emil Frey, the king of cars in Switzerland, has bought six Porsche dealerships in Belgium last year.
Another proof that foreign groups are attracted by the Belgian car retail market and the reason is obvious. In 2017, 29% of the total car market in Belgium consisted of products from premium or luxury brands, products on which the profit margins are far higher. This peculiarity of the Belgian market is greatly aided by the importance of company cars in the Belgian landscape.