Toyota arm to buy sgCarMart for $150m

The acquisition will include sgCarMart's online auction portal Quotz but will exclude its financial services arm. PHOTO: SGCARMART CONNECT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A consortium led by Toyota Financial Services has agreed to buy vehicle trading portal sgCarMart from Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPHL) for $150 million.

SPHL's sale of sgCarMart, which it bought for some $50 million back in 2013, was first flagged by The Straits Times last August.

Mr Vinod Cherumadathil, chief executive of Toyota Financial Services Singapore (TFSS) - a financial arm of the world's largest automaker - told The Straits Times that the acquisition will include sgCarMart's online auction portal Quotz as well as Quotz (Taiwan), but will exclude its financial services arm.

Mr Cherumadathil said the acquisition is an all-cash deal. When completed, TFSS will own 76 per cent of sgCarMart, with the remaining 24 per cent owned by two other acquisition partners - Toyota Tsusho Asia-Pacific and Phillip Binter.

Mr Cherumadathil said: "We believe sgCarMart is a leading player in the new and used car market place. We appreciate that.

"As an automotive company, we will use our own expertise and resources to grow the business in its current form, and to take it overseas.

"We also believe the digital space is getting more and more vital to our customers."

For the year ended Aug 31, 2020, sgCarMart (SGCM) reported net earnings of $5.1 million, up from $4.6 million previously.

Its car trading and finance arm Quotz posted net earnings of $339,000 for the same period, up from a loss of $12,000 in 2019. It has more than 30,000 car listings.

In comparison, upstart rival Carro saw a net loss of $5.2 million for financial year 2020, up from $3.1 million in 2019.

SPH Ltd, which recently hived off its once core and highly profitable media businesses, has confirmed the sale.

SPHL chief executive Ng Yat Chung said: “The sale of SGCM will deliver value to both SPHL and Toyota Financial Services.

“This divestment is part of SPHL’s ongoing capital recycling initiatives. We will continue to identify and seize new opportunities that add value to our shareholders.”

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