T.O.M. expands into Aberdeen

Date Published: 25/09/2012

West of Scotland based T.O.M. Airdrie is expanding into Aberdeen after buying the commercial vehicle division of John R Weir.

 The deal, believed to be worth almost £3 million, creates T.O.M.’s first depot in the north-east and will be followed by further expansion into Inverness scheduled for March 2013.

 The new business will be branded ‘Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles – Aberdeen’. Sales and after sales of Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles will continue to be the core business but a vehicle rental section will be added over the coming weeks to give T.O.M. Vehicle Rental a foothold in the Aberdeen market and create additional jobs.

 T.O.M. Commercial Director Robert Stewart said 35 staff currently with John R Weir will be transferred to the new company and he predicted further expansion.

 Mr Stewart said: “I believe the business needs additional resource to build a strong platform for further development. We have an excellent site and location in a vibrant, Scottish, micro economy with a strong product range being enhanced with progressive new Mercedes Benz Truck and Van models being released between now and next summer.”

 As part of the deal, T.O.M. will also open ‘Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles – Inverness’ in March next year.

 Mr Stewart said: “This gives us geographical coverage throughout Scotland which would be difficult to beat. Our rental, parts, workshop and recovery areas of the business will benefit from the infrastructure across the country.

 “Most importantly this will deliver greater benefits to our customers. It will make rental deliveries more timely and parts availability will become more efficient across the group. When our base in Inverness opens we will have five commercial vehicle workshops across Scotland.”

 The acquisition by T.O.M. comes just weeks after John R Weir was taken over by Arnold Clark automobiles.

 It marks the company’s growing influence in the sector and strengthened links with Mercedes after acquiring in 2011 the trade and assets of the commercial vehicle operations of Ayr-based Glen Henderson Ltd, a Mercedes Benz authorised repairer and light commercial vehicle sales franchise.

 Earlier this week, T.O.M. published figures showing it had achieved a 41.1% rise in pre-tax profit from £1.42million to more than £2m in the year to March as turnover jumped from £27.3m to £38.4m.

 Chairman Hugh Stewart said the improvements had been achieved despite a challenging economic background and cash flow pressures affecting many of T.O.M.’s customers.

 He said: “We have continued to refine our strategy to take advantage of growth opportunities. More and more customers are turning to T.O.M which reflects the outstanding customer service we deliver and our ability to provide them with cost-efficient solutions.”

 T.O.M., whose clients include almost every local authority in Scotland, the NHS and Scottish Water, increased its fleet by more than 21% to almost 5000 – a figure which is still growing - while staff numbers rose by almost 100 to its current level of around 330 including 60 on the Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

 In the last 12 months, the company, which specialises in fleet and service management, MOT testing, sales, servicing and repair, has invested almost £300,000 in new facilities at its main site in Airdrie, opened a new rental and service depot at Broxburn in West Lothian, introduced a dedicated Fleet Management Team and strengthened its finance and sales divisions to reflect the growth of the business.

 That was also supported by a £7m financing package with GE Capital, allowing the company to support its ambitions to invest in more vehicles and create jobs. It has also doubled its financing facilities.

 Managing Director Jim Rafferty said: “It is credit to everyone that we have managed to implement our Strategy in these economic times.

 “Our ability to grow and develop is directly linked to the exceptional service levels T.O.M. brings and the level of support from our customers.”

 Mr Rafferty said T.O.M. was ready to take advantage of further opportunities for growth and was upbeat about future growth.

 He said: “For the coming year we anticipate further significant growth in turnover and profitability. We remain open for new opportunities which will present themselves.”

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