Dealer-only symposium all set for Toronto

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In a little over a week, select dealer principals from around the country will gather in Toronto for a symposium established to provide insight into the coming bright spots and pitfalls of automotive retail.

Scheduled for Nov. 1 and complete with a stacked lineup of forecasters, dealers and OEM executives, this will mark the second time this year Canadian mergers and acquisitions company Templeton Marsh will host a VIP, dealer-only event.

The first show in Montreal last May had such a positive response, explains Templeton Marsh managing partner Samir Akhavan, the program had to be extended to Toronto.

“The Templeton Marsh Automotive Symposium is one of the hottest tickets in the industry,” Akhavan said, noting it is an invite-only affair for dealer principals and operating partners.

“We are not even broadcasting the location of the event this time,” he added. “This is an event just for dealers and a private invitation is required to gain admittance. We have a great group of speakers participating and we want to foster an environment where dealers can talk openly about business and the market amongst their peers.”

Guest speakers include noted U.S. automotive commentator and advisor Maryann Keller. She is the lone repeat from the Montreal dinner as her discussion of the automotive retail landscape, which touched on everything from consolidation to margin pressure, dealership valuations to regulations, was a standout from Montreal.

Also featured will be SF Auto Group president Mike Stollery, AutoCanada CEO Steven Landry, Lithia Motors founder and board chair Sid DeBoer and Jaguar Land Rover Canada chief Wolfgang Hoffmann.

NewRoads Automotive Group CEO Michael Croxon will emcee the event, which changes from the dinnertime affair of Montreal to a daylong event in Toronto.

Akhavan said the timing of the symposium is no accident as changes announced in the federal budget could mean a much higher tax bill on the sale of dealerships after Jan. 1, 2017.

The new tax rules concern the treatment of eligible capital property (ECP) for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC).

ECP generally consists of the intangible assets of a business that for dealerships could include goodwill, customer lists, customer contracts and customer sales and service history information.

According to tax lawyers, the current rules on a sale or disposition of ECP have 50 per cent of the gain on the sale taxed at the lower corporate income tax rate with the other 50 per cent added to the CCPC’s capital dividend account, which can be distributed to shareholders on a tax-free basis.

The new guidelines call for the gains on the sale of an ECP to be taxed as ordinary capital gains.

“With these new tax laws coming, you would have to be crazy to wait to sell your store. If it is something you are thinking about doing in the next few years, why leave millions on the table now?” Akhavan warned.

Couple the tax issue with expensive OEM image programs and an aging and fragmented ownership base and Akhavan goes on to suggest this fall could be one of the busiest ever in terms of automobile dealership buy/sells in Canada.

“We want to provide experts that can help answer our VIP attendees’ questions about today and what’s to come in automotive retail; we will deal with all the disruptions around the industry and what owners can do about it all. We also want to educate dealers on the changes coming and what future trends could mean on their bottom line,” he said.

“You won’t find vendors trying to sell something or expo halls with companies showcasing goods or services. This is for dealers looking to find out more about what affects their business.”

    For more information, contact Samir Akhavan at 416-880-8989. For tickets to the symposium, email sepy@templetonmarsh.com.