Inchcape Plc acquires controlling stake in CATS PH

Inchcape Plc (Inchcape), an independent multi-brand global automotive distributor, has acquired a controlling stake in CATS Group of Companies (CATS), the leading distributor of luxury vehicles in the Philippines.

The acquisition also paved the way for a joint venture with Inchcape and CATS. Inchcape announced the deal today, Tuesday, Jan. 17. There was no mention on the cost of the acquisition and the exact shareholdings of Inchcape in CATS.

The deal is expected to close in H2 2023 with CATS’ founding Ang family retaining the remaining 40 percent of the company and continuing to be represented on the Board by Felix Ang, and management team.

Ang founded CATS in 1989 as a car accessories, tires, and service center business, CATS has grown to become the leader in premium vehicle distribution and biggest one-stop shop luxury passenger vehicle center in the country with a core purpose and mission to fulfill the aspirations of its customers to own the car of their dreams.

Since 2004, CATS has been a distributor for Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram. In 2017 it became the Jaguar and Land Rover distributor for the Philippines and has set up a supporting dealership network. It also has dealerships for Mazda and Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

According to the statement, Inchcape will power CATS to the next step in its journey, bringing global scale across more than 40 markets, leadership in digital and data and EV expertise to the fast growing and dynamic Philippine market where automotive sales are forecast to grow to 500,000 by 2026 with the luxury market expected to grow at an even stronger rate.

The joint venture with CATS is a great example of Inchcape’s “Accelerate Strategy” in action, delivering on the Group's ambition to expand its existing global footprint and presence in Asia and other underpenetrated markets while becoming the undisputed number one distribution partner for automotive manufacturers and the employer of choice for current and future employees.

Ruslan Kinebas, Inchcape’s APAC CEO, said “We are very pleased to be entering the new and strategically important market of the Philippines through the acquisition of a controlling stake in CATS’ Philippine operations. As the leading luxury vehicle distributor in the market, CATS has excellent OEM relationships, and we look forward to working with them and the Ang family to drive the business forward.”

For his part, Ang said “After over 30 successful years of operating independently, we believe the time is now right for CATS to take the next step in our growth journey and in Inchcape we have found the right partner to drive us forward. The Philippines is a fast-growing market with an increasing demand for the

luxury vehicles we provide, and we look forward to leveraging Inchcape’s leadership in digital and data to further build our distinctive market position through the provision of best in class customer service.”

Inchcape’s modern presence in Asia-Pacific started in 1967 with the acquisition of Borneo Motors, a company founded in 1925 to distribute vehicles in Singapore.

Inchcape APAC has since expanded significantly across the region and today distributes new vehicles and parts in Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Guam, Macau, New Zealand, Saipan, Singapore and Thailand for a large portfolio of OEM brands: Toyota Motor Corporation, Subaru, Suzuki, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW Group, Chevrolet, Great Wall Motor, Peugeot Citroen, Harley-Davidson, Daimler Trucks and Buses, Hino and other commercial vehicle partners. In 2021, Inchcape opened a Digital Delivery Centre in the Philippines, providing digital and data analytics support and insights for the Group. Inchcape APAC is headquartered in Singapore and employs around 3,400 people across the region.