Dubai-based conglomerate AW Rostamani has made its first acquisition in the UK, purchasing a majority stake in Brayleys Motor Group, the franchise holder for Honda, Kia, Mazda, and Renault/Dacia.

Founder and managing director Paul Brayley hopes the investment by AW Rostamani in his family-run business will help it deliver organic growth in the future. “The acquisition of a majority stake in Brayleys is underlined by our strategy to expand and build our business in the UK, a key automotive market,” said Khalid Al Rostamani, vice chairman of AW Rostamani.

He continued: “We have been assessing various options for investments and identified Brayleys as a perfect fit to our vision. We will continue to explore new opportunities to help enhance our presence in the UK and also focus on leveraging significant growth opportunities with Brayleys.”

From humble beginnings in 2003 with a single Honda dealership in St. Albans, Brayleys has grown rapidly in recent years. By way of adding new franchises and bolt-on acquisitions since 2012, the group took its annual sales from $60 million to more than $156 million in 2017 through ten dealerships. AW Rostamani will lend its expertise and vision to boost the growth of Brayleys. Paul Brayley will continue to run the business in his current role alongside his management team. Two senior executives of AW Rostamani who have joined the board will support management.

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The family-run Brayleys Motor Group is eyeing long-term growth with the majority shareholder AW Rostamani Group.

With annual revenues exceeding $2 billion, AW Rostamani operates in multiple industry sectors in the UAE. Its flagship subsidiary, AWR Arabian Automobiles, is the exclusive distributor for Nissan, Infiniti, and Renault in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, operating 21 showrooms and 16 service centres. The conglomerate’s majority stake acquisition in Brayleys represents its first investment in the UK motor retail sector.

Brayley said, “As a family-run business like Brayleys, AW Rostamani understood our customer service-led culture and principle values perfectly, so we are delighted that such a highly successful and internationally respected business has chosen Brayleys as its first automotive investment in the UK.

“We’re excited at the prospect of building our network further in the years ahead with existing franchise partners, as well as exploring potential new manufacturer opportunities, not to mention the enhancement of career development potential for our team of almost 250 staff.”

Paul Daly and David Kendrick, partners at UHY Hacker Young, brokered the sale. Paul Daly said: “AW Rostamani represent the latest international investor into the UK automotive retail market. Despite the domestic focus and uncertainty caused by Brexit it is clear that the UK remains an attractive prospect underpinned by stable property values, consistent consumer demand and established protective legal framework.

“The Brayley business provides a fantastic platform for them to launch their UK operations and I’m sure the business will now grow and develop further under Paul’s continuing strong leadership.”