AutoWallis’s new Partnership, Acquisition Boosts 2023 Business Outlook

Automotive

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In less than 24 hours, the AutoWallis Group announced an acquisition (and hence entrance to anew market) and asustainable energy solutions partnership. The former is expected to help support the group’s future growth plans, while it hopes the latter will drive the spread of electro-mobility inthe country.

AutoWallis has agreed to purchase the fleet management division of Nelson Group, which the former says is critical to its strategy and margin generation capabilities. The Hungarian stock exchange-listed company believes the acquisition is a “milestone” on its journey to expanding mobility services and expects it to result in important synergies.

The acquisition of the fleet management division of the more than 30-year-old Nelson Group is the latest in a number of deals AutoWallis has undertaken in recent years to support the expansion of its retail and wholesale activities. It will give the auto importer and retailer a 2-2.5% stake in the Hungarian fleet management market, making it one of the 10 largest players in the vertical.

“AutoWallis is financing the acquisition from its own funds and will not use external financing or treasury shares,” according to a press statement issued by the company. “The purchase is taking place with beneficial pricing conditions, which ensures a short-term (within two years) return on the goodwill paid in addition to the equity of the purchased companies. In 2021, Nelson’s fleet management division achieved revenues of HUF 4.2 billion with an EBITDA of HUF 2.4 million and a pre-tax profit of HUF 230 mln,” the statement continues.

AutoWallis CEO Gábor Ormosy tagged the acquisition as a significant step in the company’s services portfolio expansion, supporting earlier acquisitions that have strengthened the company’s retailer and wholesale divisions.

Building on Nelson’s current market share and organically increasing it, the AutoWallis Group says it will be able to offer clients of its retail and services business (which plans to sell almost 10,000 vehicles in 2025) another vertical that will generate significant profits. The CEO expects the rapid integration of the fleet management business due to Nelson’s advanced corporate culture and management system.

Outperforming Expectations

Announcing the acquisition, Ormosy said that the group’s growth had outperformed expectations, which may trigger an upward review of previously published targets, as it had not previously included any revenues or profits from fleet management activities.

The deal is pending Hungarian Competition Authority approval and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2023. The key employees and executives from the Nelson division are expected to join the AutoWallis Employee Share Ownership Program, providing them with a long-term incentive to implement the AutoWallis Group’s strategy.

Meanwhile, the AutoWallis Group has also announced it is entering into strategic cooperation with listed power company Alteo. In a deal focussing on the coordination of e-mobility-related services between the two businesses, customers will be able to buy electric vehicles, charging equipment, and related services from Opel dealers, paired with solar panel systems and energy storage solutions starting in 2023. 

The partnership is a new stage in the two companies’ collaboration launched last year to support the spread of green mobility in Hungary. Under this new partnership involving the professional backing of Alteo’s e-mobility division Alte-GO, solar panel and energy storage systems will be sold in the Hungarian Opel brand dealerships represented by the AutoWallis Group in four countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, in addition to Hungary.

Additionally, Hungary-based Opel showrooms will also offer the installation of EV chargers, the development of an electrical grid, and an energy management system to ensure the efficient use of available electrical capacity, tailored to the needs of private and corporate customers.

AutoWallis says it is committed to sustainable operations while transitioning to greener solutions, according to Gábor Székely, the firm’s investor relations and ESG director.

The combined market share of electric vehicles in the European Union and the United Kingdom reached 19% in 2021, up from 11% in the previous year, Székely said. Last year, 15,510 vehicles with green license plates, which means they have some sort of electric drive, were registered in Hungary.

Growing Share

That growth continued into this year, with more than 17,000 such vehicles registered in the first 10 months of 2022. Székely noted that the AutoWallis Group sold 1,084 electric and hybrid autos in 2021.

“The price for publicly charging EVs will soon rival that of fossil fuels while charging at home and at company sites will continue to provide better conditions, lower prices, and increased comfort,” said Dénes Novotny, head of Alteo’s e-mobility division. He added that Alteo-GO and AutoWallis would provide a one-stop shop solution to ensure that by the time Opel models are delivered to the dealership, the infrastructure for cost-effective EV ownership is already in place at the customer’s home or business premises.

“Although this is an important step in our cooperation, we are not done yet. In 2023, solar panel systems and energy storage solutions will be added to the charging of electric Opel vehicles. Car dealerships are the ideal location for showcasing these solutions and providing customers, who will be able to purchase entire decentralized packages when buying a vehicle, with explanations,” Novotny added.

Next year, the partner companies plan to sell at least 100 chargers via Opel dealerships under the agreement. That will boost the number of customers opting for solar panels and energy storage systems to complement their chargers.

In unrelated news, on Friday, November 4, it was announced AutoWallis had bought five million of its own shares in over-the-counter trading to finance subsequent acquisitions and ensure the number of shares required for the Employee Share Ownership Program. The company bought the 1.14% stake inshares trading at HUF 91.33.

In October, the AutoWallis Group announced it had seen double-digit growth in all its business lines in the first nine months of 2022, and in several areas, the sales figures are already higher than last year. The group, which is present in 14 countries of the region, says it has become permanently independent from domestic and international trends.

Its vehicle sales increased by 27.1% in the first three quarters, and the number of service hours increased similarly. The car rental area jumped even more: the number of rental events increased by 64, while the number ofrental days increased by 31%.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of November 18, 2022.

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