Motus now in full control of Renault

Leading South African automotive group Motus has acquired 100% ownership and control of Renault South Africa, the importer and distributor of Renault vehicles in Southern Africa.

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Osman Arbee, the chief executive of Motus, confirmed Motus had acquired Renault France’s 40% shareholding in Renault SA for R250 million.

Motus already owned the remaining 60% in Renault SA.

Motus was unbundled from JSE-listed Imperial Holdings and separately listed on the JSE in November 2018.

Imperial acquired a controlling stake in Renault SA in February 2015 when the group acquired a further 11% shareholding in Renault SA for R65 million, which increased Imperial's shareholding in the joint venture with the French car manufacturer from 49% to 60%.

Arbee said that in terms of the latest transaction, Renault France had given Motus an exclusive 10-year distribution agreement.

He said with Motus now having full control of Renault SA, it can open and close dealerships wherever it wants to in South Africa.

There are about 80 Renault dealerships in South Africa, of which 25 are owned by Motus, which is also the exclusive South African importer and distributor of Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi vehicles and parts in the country.

Arbee said the transaction between Motus and Renault France was prompted by the fact that the objectives of each company in regard to Renault SA were not aligned and by Motus’ wish to operate the Renault import and distributorship business the same way it managed Hyundai and Kia.

Renault France had also decided to exit smaller regions, including South Africa and Australia, to focus on the European market, he said.

Arbee said the benefits of the transaction to Motus are largely on the operational side, such as now being able to arrange foreign exchange forward cover for the Renault vehicles it imports and synergies stemming from now being able to have shared warehouses and logistics operations.

Motus is bullish about Renault’s sales prospects in South Africa.

Arbee said the French brand has attractive entry level small sport utility vehicle (SUV) models, including the Kwid, Triber, Sandero, Duster and Kadjar.

He said Renault currently has a market share of about 4% in South Africa’s passenger car market but wants to grow it to 5% by the end of 2022.

Arbee said the acquisition of 100% control of Renault SA was effective from last week, when the Competition Tribunal unconditionally approved the transaction.

Renault SA is a private South African company which does not have any subsidiaries.

Through its dealer network it is involved in importing and distributing new Renault vehicles, the sale of used Renault vehicles to dealerships, and the provision of after-sales services. It is also involved in the retail motor sector through corporate-owned dealerships.

The Competition Tribunal concluded, after considering all the submissions received related to the proposed transaction, that the transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any relevant market in South Africa and it does not raise any public interest concerns.

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