Business

Morgan family sells control to venture capitalist group

Morgan Plus Six Image copyright Morgan
Image caption The Morgan Plus Six has just been unveiled

British sports car maker Morgan is to be sold to an Italian venture capitalist firm.

InvestIndustrial will take a majority stake for an undisclosed amount.

The Morgan family, which has owned the company for 110 years, will retain a minority shareholding, with the management team and staff also keeping a share of the business.

The announcement came as the company unveiled its latest Morgan Plus Six at the Geneva motor show.

Morgan has something of a cult status among sports car collectors. Some 30,000 visitors make the trip to its Malvern factory every year.

The Morgan Sports Car Club has about 5,000 members and there are 50 clubs round the world.

Image copyright Blake Marvin
Image caption Morgan is the only company still building cars with wooden frames

The cars are said to be the only modern automobiles with a wooden frame of ash. While the bodywork is made in Malvern, Morgan engines are made further afield. The latest standard Plus Six has a BMW Turbo six-cylinder inline engine. The car is priced from £77,995.

In the past waiting times for a Morgan has extended to anything up to a decade. Today buyers of one of their cars, produced at a rate of 850 a year, wait up to six months for delivery.

Jill Price, grand daughter of the founder Henry Morgan and longest serving Morgan family Director said: "This new ownership structure and InvestIndustrial, have the pedigree and resources to secure the long-term future of Morgan.

"It was important for the family to retain a shareholding, and we are delighted that our loyal management team and workforce will now also have a share in the business going forward."

InvestIndustrial owns a stake in Aston Martin and was instrumental in appointing former Nissan executive Andy Palmer to lead the company in 2014. It was for six years an investor in the motorbike manufacturer Ducati.

Image copyright Morgan Motor Co.
Image caption Morgan's three-wheeler based on the original 1909 design

It has stakes in companies ranging from leisure and tourism to industrial manufacturing with a combined €6.8bn of raised fund capital.

Andrea C. Bonomi, InvestIndustrial's Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board, said: "We ... see significant potential for Morgan to develop internationally whilst retaining its hand-built heritage, which is at the heart of the Morgan Motor Company. We share with the Morgan family the belief that British engineering and brands are unique and have an important place in the world."

Image copyright Morgan Motor Co
Image caption Morgan's engines are made elsewhere - the Plus 8 Speedster has a 4.8 litre BMW engine

InvestIndustrial said it would help Morgan accelerate new product development and increase its global distribution and marketing.

Last year Morgan Motor Co, which has 190 employees, had revenues of £33.8m and net profit of £3.2m.

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