APOLLO INVESTS IN SHARING ECONOMY PLATFORM AND SYDNEY RV DEALERSHIP

APOLLO INVESTS IN SHARING ECONOMY PLATFORM AND SYDNEY RV DEALERSHIP
LUKE Trouchet saw three options to ensure Apollo Tourism and Leisure (ASX:ATL) wasn't disrupted by an Airbnb-style peer-to-peer campervan sharing app.

The first option was to sit back and watch what happened in the space, but the Apollo managing director says, "we weren't comfortable with that approach".

Trouchet then considered either creating an original product, or investing in a company that was already established.

Camplify, Australia's largest caravan and RV sharing community, provided Apollo with the opportunity to invest, and the ASX-listed company has agreed to subscribe $1.75 million for a 25 per cent shareholding in the company.

"We were very impressed with the management and vision of Camplify, which is backed by the NRMA and investment from other startup venture funds (including Artesian Capital), and we see it as a complimentary client," Trouchet tells Business News Australia.

"We always had this in the back of our minds. The idea crystallised as we spoke to more and more people who were asking about sharing platforms and how they might affect our business going forward. So this is a natural progression."

Alongside its investment in Camplify, which was announced today, Apollo revealed it had bought Sydney RV Group, based in Penrith, for $1.75 million.

The growing business sold around 900 new and used caravans and motorhomes in FY16, and it also sells accessories and parts, finance and insurance and warranty products, alongside a caravan repairs and servicing department.

Director and general manager, Norman Roe, will continue to manage Sydney RV. He owned 25 per cent of the group and has been compensated with 50% cash and 50% Apollo shares issued at $1.386 each. Other Sydney RV shareholders were paid in cash.

The dealership will now be able to add Apollo brands Winnebago, Adria, Talvor and its ex-rental used vehicles. The business will also help accelerate preparation of Apollo's ex-rental vehicles for sale by leveraging Sydney RV's service department capabilities.

"The acquisition of Sydney RV contributes to our strategy of becoming a leading player in the RV retail market. We welcome Sydney RV's highly skilled and motivated team as we grow our retail sales network across the country," says Trouchet.

Apollo Tourism and Leisure is trading up 3.82 per cent at $1.36 per share at 4pm AEDT.

Business News Australia

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