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AMA Group rules out asset sale  

Loss-making smash repairer AMA Group insists its Capital Smart business is not for sale after the Australian Financial Review suggested a deal may be finalised by June 30.

In an investor update responding to the newspaper report, AMA says the business is “considering a range of refinancing structures ... these options do not include an asset sale”.

“The group refers to previous disclosures that it is progressing its debt refinancing and expects to finalise the new arrangements through [the second half of 2023-24],” the update adds.

The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column, citing unnamed sources, reported that a syndicate led by Jim Vais and Mark Milliner – who built the Capital Smart business under Suncorp’s ownership – were keen to buy it. AMA bought a 90% stake in Capital Smart from Suncorp in 2019.

The syndicate approached AMA in January but was rebuffed, according to Street Talk. The syndicate is still interested and is expected to team up with a private equity player to support the bid, Street Talk says, adding the syndicate is believed to be willing to pay north of $50 million and is confident of a deal by June 30.

Last month, AMA Group reported its first-half losses narrowed to $9.2 million from $27.2 million a year earlier, while revenue and other income increased 10% to $469.3 million.

As of December 31, the business had a net debt of $148 million, including convertible notes with a face value of $50 million.

At the annual general meeting last November, Chair Caroline Waldron gave an update on refinancing of the group’s debt facilities, including a “clear solution” for the $50 million of convertible bonds, which mature in March 2027 but have a cash redemption for holders in March next year.

She said the group had formally launched “the process with a group of prospective lenders who have shown strong interest in the transaction” and she expected the refinancing to be “well progressed” by the time half-year results were released.

In a separate update, AMA says Ray Smith-Roberts and David Goldstein have been appointed independent non-executive directors.

Mr Smith-Roberts’ experience in the motor industry spans 37 years and includes previous involvement with AMA Group in leadership roles at the accessories and panel businesses, and as executive director. He is currently MD of Creative Conversions, a second-stage vehicle manufacturer.

Mr Goldstein has a 30-year career in front-line to C-suite roles at collision repair business Caliber. He is currently Caliber Chief Growth Officer, according to his LinkedIn.