(Alliance News) - Inchcape PLC is "sounding out" possible bidders to acquire its UK retail arm, Sky News reported on Monday.

The London-based automotive distributor, which has operations in 32 countries, would be making "a landmark step" in selling the business, Sky said.


Sky said Rothschild bankers have been hired to oversee discussions as Inchcape "[sounds] out prospective buyers", with analysts suggesting that the business could fetch hundreds of millions of pounds.

According to sources, selling the UK dealerships would leave Inchcape free to concentrate on its higher-margin distribution activities. These account for over 90% of gross profits, leaving the UK retail arm "relatively insignificant" by comparison.

Inchcape told Sky News: "It is company policy never to comment on market rumours or speculation."

Shares in Inchcape were trading 0.8% higher at 689.00 pence on Monday afternoon in London.

By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter

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