Wilsons Auctions buys two sites for business in England
Northern Ireland-based auctions giant Wilsons has bought another two sites in England, bringing its total number of locations to 15.
The Mallusk-based family firm, which is the UK and Ireland's biggest independent auction house, paid an undisclosed sum for the locations in Maidstone, Kent, and Newcastle in the north-east of England.
The site in Maidstone, which formerly belonged to surveyors Lambert and Foster, will be used initially for online auctions before eventually becoming a physical auction house.
The site in Newcastle, meanwhile, will used for car, fleet and plant and commercial auctions.
It was bought from British Car Auctions (BCA) after that company acquired SMA.
Wilsons now has a total of eight auction sites, as well as seven logistics and storage locations, around the British Isles.
Peter Johnston, Wilsons group operations director, said: 'We are delighted with both of these acquisitions.
"The location, premises and staff in Newcastle will be an excellent complement to our future plans for the region and will enable us to build on the business already retained by the site.
"We have many existing contracts that we currently service in both the Newcastle and Maidstone areas.
"These new acquisitions will enable us to strengthen our offering and reduce existing logistics costs."
The Newcastle site was put on the market by BCA after a Competition and Markets Authority probe into its proposed merger with SMA. It found that the merger would raise competition issues in the Newcastle area, prompting the move to sell the location.
Family business Wilsons was formed in 1936 by William J Wilson and is now directed by his son, Ian.
Turnover at Wilsons Auctions Limited in 2015 was £11.1m, up from £10.9m in 2014.
Pre-tax profits, meanwhile, had more than doubled from £292,827 to £768,023.
Turnover at Wilsons Auctions Ltd in 2015
Pre-tax profits at the firm for the same period