Inchcape buys 60% of CATS Group

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Inchcape Plc, the London-headquartered multi-brand global automotive distributor, has acquired a 60 percent stake in the Ang family-owned CATS Group of Companies, seeking to ocreate a bigger luxury car distribution business in the Philippines.

The joint venture marks Inchcape’s entry into the country and is seen to create a stronger CATS, which is the distributor for Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Jaguar, and Land Rover in the Philippines. It also has dealerships for Mazda and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The joint venture between the two automotive giants is also seen to bring more value to each other’s businesses, said CATS chairman Greg Yu.

“After more than 30 successful years of operating independently, we believe that now is the right time for CATS to take the next major step in our growth journey. We have found the right partner who will give us the leverage to accelerate to unprecedented levels,” Yu said.

CATS and Inchcape signed the joint venture agreement last Tuesday, commencing a roughly six month process of integration, said Francis Ang, COO of CATS.

“We will be consolidating and this will take about six months to complete,” Ang said.

For Inchcape, CATS is a great example of its “Accelerate Strategy” in action, delivering on the group’s ambition to expand its existing global footprint and presence in Asia and other under penetrated markets while becoming the undisputed number one distribution partner for automotive manufacturers and the employer of choice for current and future employees.

“We are very pleased to be entering the new and strategically important market of the Philippines through the acquisition of a controlling stake in CATS’ Philippine operations. As the leading luxury vehicle distributor in the market, CATS has excellent OEM relationships, and we look forward to working with them and the Ang family to drive the business forward,” said Ruslan Kinebas, Inchcape APAC CEO.

Upon the closing of the deal in the second half of the year, the Ang family will retain the remaining 40 percent of the company and continue to be represented in the board by founder Felix Ang.

Ang founded the company in 1989 as a car accessories, tires, and service center business. Since then, CATS has grown to become the leader in premium vehicle distribution and biggest one-stop shop luxury passenger vehicle center in the country with a core purpose and mission to fulfill the aspirations of its customers to own the car of their dreams.

“After over 30 successful years of operating independently, we believe the time is now right for CATS to take the next step in our growth journey and in Inchcape we have found the right partner to drive us forward,” he said.

The Philippines is a fast-growing market with an increasing demand for luxury vehicles.

“We look forward to leveraging Inchcape’s leadership in digital and data to further build our distinctive market position through the provision of best in class customer service,” Ang said.

Francis Ang, son of Felix, said CATS has an estimated market share that is “greater than 35 percent.”

Local automotive sales are forecast to grow to 500,000 by 2026 with the luxury market expected to grow at an even stronger rate.

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