Kwik-Fit bought by Itochu for £637m

Japanese firm acquires company

Kwik-Fit, the automotive repair company, has been bought by Japanese trading firm Itochu for £637m, according to reports.

Launched in Edinburgh in 1971 by Sir Tom Farmer, Kwik-Fit provides full automotive repair services such as tyre fitting, brakes, exhausts, and MOT testing. The company experienced rapid growth across the UK – principally through acquisition. Farmer sold the business to Ford in 1999 for more than $1bn.

Itochu, which also owns retailer and wholesales Stapletons Tyre Service, acquired Kwik-Fit from European private equity firm PAI Partners, which bought the automotive giant in 2005 for £800m.

According to a statement issued by Itochu, the acquisition is conditional on approval from the European Competition Authorities and French Works Council.

The statement did not provide any detail regarding Itochu’s plans for Kwik-Fit, and it is unknown as yet whether chief executive Ian Fraser will remain in the business as an ambassador.

It is believed that private equity group Clayton Dubilier & Rice, the owners of car rental company Hertz, also considered bidding for the business, along with Bridgestone.

Kwik-Fit achieved sales of £485.5m in the first half of 2010, an increase of 6.2% compared to the same period in 2009.

© Crimson Business. Ltd 2011

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