GAZ Buys LDV Group


Martin Leach, Chairman (left) and Steve Young, Chief Executive (right) with a LDV Maxus
Martin Leach, Chairman (left) and Steve Young,
Chief Executive (right) with a British-built LDV Maxus

2nd August, 2006

GAZ Group, from Russia, has acquired U.K. based automotive manufacturer LDV Group from an affiliate of Sun European Partners, LLP. This transaction is a significant step in GAZís international expansion strategy.

To support this strategy, GAZ has appointed two senior U.K. executives with longstanding industry experience to assume the roles of LDV Chairman and Chief Executive, with immediate effect. Martin Leach, a former President and Chief Operating Officer of Ford Europe, and Chief Executive of Maserati SpA, will become Chairman of LDV. Steve Young, former head of the Automotive Practice of the global management consultants A.T. Kearney, following an earlier career with British Leyland and Ford, will become Chief Executive.

The acquisition of LDV, which manufactures the Maxus light commercial vehicle range, awarded "Fleet Van of the Year 2006" at the Motor Transport Awards in July, will enable GAZ to expand into important international markets. By further expanding its distribution channels in new markets, and acquiring new technologies, GAZ will be able to realise its overall strategic aim - to become a leading player in the global market for light commercial vehicles.

GAZ plans to expand production at LDVís Birmingham plant by adding new product lines and entering new markets in the EU and elsewhere. GAZ also plans to launch production of Maxus models at its plant in Nizhny Novgorod, (Russia), with a view to beginning distribution of the vehicles across the Russian and CIS markets.

Building on the acquisition of LDV, GAZ is establishing a new company dedicated to identifying international expansion opportunities. GAZ International will be based in the U.K. and focus on acquiring new technologies, entering into strategic alliances with foreign carmakers, recruiting high quality people and entering new export markets. LDV will become a wholly owned subsidiary of GAZ International, which itself will be a wholly owned subsidiary of GAZ. Martin Leach and Steve Young will take up senior roles at GAZ International.

Erik Eberhardson, President of GAZ Group said:

"We are very excited about this transaction, which represents an important strategic move; expanding our market presence and bringing market leading management talent to the Group. We believe that this deal will act as a catalyst for further international growth and will enhance our overall business performance."

Commenting on his decision to join GAZ, Mr Leach said:

"GAZ is a company with great potential and is very well placed to become a major global player. It has strong roots and scale in one of the fastest growing automotive markets in the world. The resources are in place to make further acquisitions and attract high calibre people. I believe that this is the most exciting automotive development today and look forward to making my contribution to the group and the industry."

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