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Armstrong’s Eyes New Capital Structure To Accelerate Long-term Growth Plans

9 November 2021 – Armstrong’s, one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned automotive groups is reviewing its capital structure and considering a dual listing on the main board of the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) and Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2022.

Founded by Rick Armstrong in 1993 and now led by CEO, Troy Kennedy, Armstrong’s operates 15 strategically located dealerships and represents 16 global automotive brands across the Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland markets.

Armstrong’s CEO, Troy Kennedy says: “The business is at a scale with the right systems and leadership team in place to put our foot down on emerging opportunities as New Zealand’s vehicle fleet starts to go through significant structural change in the race to put more Reduced Emission Vehicles (REVs) on the road.”

“We have an enviable brand portfolio built on long-term trusted relationships with global automotive brands. We are looking at growth through two lenses – organic-based growth tied to building-up and further diversifying the brand portfolio, coupled with growth via bespoke real estate development plans across Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland markets.”

“With nearly three decades of experience under our belts and a founder-led culture anchored to our business partners and customers, now is an opportune time to explore a dual listing in order to access external capital and accelerate our growth ambitions for the next 30 years,” adds Mr Kennedy.

Operating overview

Armstrong’s revenues are diversified across new and used vehicle sales, parts, servicing, finance & insurance and distribution. Armstrong’s sold approximately 12,000 vehicles in its last financial year and proudly represents 16 global automotive brands: Alfa Romeo, Audi, Citroën, Fiat, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, RAM, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo.

Interests associated with founder, Rick Armstrong, own a substantial real estate portfolio including several of the Group’s dealership locations and a number of future potential development sites for the Group.

As part of the capital structure review, Armstrong’s is considering purchasing these properties. Since 2019 the Group’s revenues have grown steadily from $448 million and are expected to surpass half a billion dollars in FY22, with strong EBITDA growth also recorded during this period. Armstrong’s employs over 500 staff today with its Group headquarters based in Auckland.

Covid-19 impact

In response to the Alert Level 4 lockdown in 2020, Armstrong’s experienced a significant impact on its operations but has since seen a resilient response from customers, who are increasingly comfortable to transact by phone and/ or online, including engaging directly under Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 requirements.

As a result, the business continues to trade well within forecasted expectations. The business continues to experience strong customer demand for REVs in response to the initial phase of the Government’s Clean Car Discount. The Armstrong’s brand portfolio also means the Group is well positioned to cater to a large and diversified customer demand for REVs.

In 2021 Armstrong’s has launched a range of initiatives in direct response to New Zealand’s closed borders and lack of access to offshore skilled labour. Since the onset of COVID-19, Armstrong’s has employed 20 apprentices - creating paths into highly skilled and well-paid career paths. The programme includes a focus on training and upskilling the next generation of automotive technicians to service a rapidly expanding REV fleet.

Overall, Armstrong’s maintains a cautiously optimistic trading outlook and its centralised group operating structure positions the Group well to move quickly to take advantage of acquisition and development opportunities in the current environment.

Timings

Armstrong’s intends to decide on a final capital structure, including a possible dual NZX/ASX listing, in 2022. Jarden and UBS have been engaged to support this process. Further updates will be shared with staff and external stakeholders in the coming months.

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