Dutch Van Mossel to take over Belgian GMAN and Bruyninx (update)
If they get the green light from competition authorities, Dutch car retailer group, Van Mossel Automotive Group, is taking over 22 dealerships from GMAN (Antwerp region) and Bruyninx (Limburg) from the Alcopa Group (Moorkens). Alcopa itself will further focus on the import and retail of Hyundai, Suzuki, SsangYong and Isuzu.
In March this year news broke that Antwerp-based Alcopa wanted to sell its car retail division. The car holding of the Moorkens family was looking for buyers for part of its car retail business, Modis, in Belgium/Luxembourg.
Showing ‘some interest’
The Dutch car group, Van Mossel, controlling 72 car dealerships in the Netherlands, already came into the picture end of last year, showing some interest without being in a hurry apparently. “We’re looking at the Belgian market”, explained owner Eric Berkhof at that time, “but Modis is not the only opportunity.” Van Mossel also owns DirectLease and J&T AutoLease in Belgium.
It now looks Van Mossel jumps at the proposal, confirming in a press release its intention to take over by the end of this year GMAN with the brands Opel and Toyota and the multi-brand retailer, Bruyninx, with the Italian brands from the Fiat group and Jeep, Citroën, DS, Opel, Peugeot, Nissan and Kia. Both groups together represent 9 and 13 garages respectively and employ some 300 people.
Important strategic add-on
Eric Berkhof says in a press release “to be proud that his family company is able to introduce itself on the Belgian market”. “We are already present in Belgium with our leasing company, Car Lease Holding, a couple of years. Being able to extend this with an important network of dealerships and body shops is an important strategic add-on.”
Alcopa is keeping 15 dealerships at last, 12 in Antwerp and the Vlaams Brabant region with Fidenco (Volvo, Ford, Huyndai and Land Rover, among others) and 3 in Luxembourg city. “We’re an Antwerp-based company and will focus on Antwerp and Luxembourg”, says Axel Moorkens, who is leading Alcopa together with his cousin, Damien Heymans.
Transformation of Alcopa
The sales of its car retail is a new step in the transformation of Alcopa, where the importance of the car dealerships is shrinking. Modis made a return of 2 billion euro last year with GMAN and Bruyninx representing some 250 million euro.
A few weeks ago, Alcopa sold its 50% share in second-hand car retailer Imexso (250 million return) to Guy Valkeniers, owner of several Renault garages. “That’s not our business”, Axel Moorkens commented. This year the Moorkens family also sold its 40% share in the French Groupe Bernard to French PGA Motors, which owns VW dealerships in Liège.
It’s all about creating value
Axel Moorkens does not lie awake at night because Alcopa is losing a big part of its car activities. “We have to stop looking at the return”, he says. “Return doesn’t make a lot of sense in our sector. It’s all about creating value.”
In this domain, however, Alcopa was rather weak last year. From its 2 billion euro return it drew a profit of only 8,3 million euro. “The car business is going through difficult times”, Moorkens admits. “Pressure on volumes and margins is high.”
Several new investments are doing well, though, and Axel Moorkens assures the family will use the return on the sales to Van Mossel to reinvest. “And why not in the automotive sector?”