AUTOMOTIVE Holdings Group has released details of its public float, lodging a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to raise $45.7 million.On completion of the offer, AHG will have a market capitalisation of $140 million at the offer price. The shares offered under the prospectus will represent about 33 per cent of the expanded issued capital of AHG following completion of the offer.The business began its history in 1952 when Syd Wheatley established City Motors with the support of Gen-eral Motors and the involve-ement of his two sons, Vern and Peter. Vern Wheatley remained intimately involved with the company until last year, when he stepped down as chairman of the firm to take a non-executive directorship. Chairman and former business partner of Vern Wheatley, Bob Branchi, said AHG had demonstrated its capability of successfully growing both the automotive retail and logistics businesses over a long period and the Australian Stock Exchange listing was the next logical step in its growth strategy.It is understood the Wheatley family will retain 38.8 per cent, worth $53.4 million, and Mr Branchi will keep 12.6 per cent valued at $17.6 million, with both keeping their stake in escrow until January 1, 2007.As the largest automotive retailer in Western Australia, AHG operates 19 dealerships at 22 locations and holds a majority stake in the Perth Auto Alliance, which operates a further six dealerships. In all, the com-pany has about 2,050 staff. Its logistics division also offers services in refrigerated transport, cold storage,warehousing and distribution through Rand Transport, AMCAP distribution and KTM Sport-motorcycles. AHG is fore-casting a net profit of $16.9 million on revenue of $1.58 billion for this financial year. Based on forecast earnings per share of 12 cents for, the company is listing on a price earnings multiple of 8.2 at the offer price. The group is forecasting a dividend of 8.5 cents per share, putting it at a fully fran-ked dividend yield of 8.5 per cent. In its prospectus, AHG has committed to continue to establish new auto-motive dealer-ships on new sites, add new franchise brands, expand its logistics division and target “selective acquis-tions that complement existing businesses”. The offer is scheduled to open on August 12 with trading in shares expected to commence in mid-September. The issue is being fully underwritten by national broker Bell Potter Securities.
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