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With LMP closing first wave of purchases, public dealer group space grows

CARY, N.C. - For the first time in more than 15 years, there is a new public franchised dealership group.

LMP Automotive Holdings — an ecommerce and facilities-based auto retailer whose stock is already publicly traded on NASDAQ — closed on the first wave of its dealership acquisitions Friday, including three pre-owned stores.

Included in stage 1 acquisitions were Beckley Buick GMC, King Coal Chevrolet, Hometown Kia, Princeton Pre-owned, Lewisburg Pre-owned and Summerville Pre-Owned in West Virginia; along with Kia of Cape Coral and Kia of Port Charlotte in Florida.

The group also closed on roughly 60 acres of real state.

LMP has now closed eight of its 13 dealership purchases, and said it intends on closing the remaining five on a rolling basis over the coming weeks.

“These partnerships significantly expand our inventory on our proprietary e-commerce platform as well as our sales and fulfillment footprint in some of the fastest growing regions in the United States,” LMP chief executive officer Sam Tawfik said in a news release. “Importantly, we will also have a more cost-efficient e-commerce fulfillment, reconditioning, and service capacity network. This also increases our vehicle storage capacity by approximately 6,000 units, which enables us to significantly expand our sales.

“Our e-commerce systems are already staged to synchronize inventory with all of the acquired dealerships, and we intend to begin synchronizing inventory in the coming weeks. This will enable us to significantly increase inventory on both our lmpmotors.com website and mobile app,” Tawfik said. “We plan to expedite and expand the roll-out of our hybrid e-commerce order online, get it delivered or pick up from store strategy. We will expand our free delivery radius by cutting out multiple legs of costly transportation, logistics and reconditioning costs, thus increasing margins and enhancing profitability.”

Added LMP chief operating officer Richard Aldahan: “This is a transformative event for LMP as we are officially a part of the elite public franchise dealership group. There has not been a new entrant in this sector in over 15 years.”

Kerrigan Advisors was the advisor for Fuccillo Automotive Group, which sold the two Florida stores to LMP. In a separate news release, managing director Ryan Kerrigan said Florida’s population numbers, job growth, low taxes and it having the second-highest revenue per dealership in the U.S. make the state attractive to dealership buyers.

“The Fuccillo dealerships were valuable and unique assets that required a precise understanding of the particulars of this market and the buyer pool,” Kerrigan said in the release. “We are very pleased with the results of these transactions for our client and are confident that LMP Motors will continue the Fuccillo’s premier legacy of excellent customer and community service throughout Florida.”

LMP’s entrance into the public auto retailer space comes at a time when acquisitions by these groups are ramping back up amid skyrocketing valuations.

The Kerrigan Index, which tracks valuation trends of Asbury Automotive Group, AutoNation, CarMax, Group 1 Automotive, Lithia Motors, Penske Automotive Group and Sonic Automotive, reached a record high of 1006.98 on Friday, going above 1,000 for the first time ever.

The index is up 238.59% since the trough of March 2020.

“Record valuations are bringing the public auto retailers back to the acquisition markets in a significant way,” the Kerrigan firm said in an analysis.

Dealers have generated record profits during the pandemic, the firm said, as they have successfully adjusted to no-contract transactions, which are more cost-effective and consumer demand has shifted back toward personal ownership.

Erin Kerrigan, founder and managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, said in the analysis: “Right-sized inventory levels at auto dealerships have dramatically boosted gross profits and reduced dealerships expenses on floorplan and advertising, creating a more efficient and profitable auto retail model. We expect these impacts to continue well into the future.”

Added Ryan Kerrigan: “In addition to a great business model with highly flexibly costs structures, all trends are really supportive of auto retail. Many consumers have left the densest population areas and are in need of personal transportation. Consumers are lining up for cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as parts and service needs.  Some of these trends will likely stick as the economy fully reopens and vaccines rollout to most of the country by the summer months.

“Although it was not immediately clear what the impacts would be for dealers in March 2020 when the economy was being shut down, the COVID-era created an operating environment ideal for auto retail margins and increased profitability.”

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