Well wow what a deal! MFG and MRH coming together to create one big group (see News Extra, page 10). We had reported the rumours in Forecourt Trader, but generally in the industry few seemed overly invested in the idea that it would really happen.
Many thought it was simply speculative gossip which not only created a good story, but raised the profile of MRH which was said to be gearing up for a possible IPO.
Was this MRH’s original plan? It seems the ambitions of the big ’supergroups’ at the top of the Top 50 sector know no bounds just look at Euro Garages which has gone spectacularly global.
I’m sure there is probably some beating of the chest as the number two Top Indie in the market buys what has been the biggest independent forecourt grouping since the first Top 50 listing 12 years ago. Could Sej and Raj have foreseen what would become of their dealer business at its outset in 2001?
It’ll be intriguing to see how it all pans out. While MRH recently announced some significant new recruits the appointment of a new chairman springs to mind there will surely be a shakedown of management teams (interesting HR job!). The scale of the newly merged networks will give the operation huge bargaining power.
Will MRH’s programme of redevelopment and upgrading its network continue in the same vein? Innovation and rollout of the programme has been impressive especially compared with what went before.
Both groups have been pushing for expansion and have been hitting the headlines with their various site purchases.
But with the main acquisitive protaganists out of the way surely they’ve now got enough on their plate! will this mean the bubble has burst, or at least softened on forecourt property prices, as experts in the sector have been suggesting?
Could it mean that the market opens up for others to have a chance in the buying stakes? There may be some cross-over of sites and the need to rationalise, so perhaps some disposals might be in the offing.
We wait with bated breath to see what this "transformational milestone" ultimately means for the wider market.