Kwik-Fit set for Japanese ownership


Tyre retailer Kwik-Fit has reportedly been sold to a Japanese trading house

Britain’s biggest tyre retailer Kwik-Fit has been sold to a Japanese trading house for £637 million, it has been reported.

Kwik-Fit’s European owner, private equity firm PAI Partners, sold the auto repair chain to Tokyo-based Itochu Corporation, which also owns Stapleton Tyre Services, the City AM newspaper said.

PAI, which declined to comment on the deal, paid £800 million for the chain in 2005 and recently sold Kwik-Fit’s £215 million insurance arm to Belgium’s Ageas.

Kwik-Fit currently accounts for 20% of the UK tyre market and employs 4,602 staff across 673 branches. It has a further 545 branches across Europe.

The company’s last interim statement published on its website, covering the six months to June, showed sales of £485.5 million with operating profit of £41.4 million. The statement said it had net bank debt of £652.8 million.

Itochu’s Japanese rival, Marubeni, which distributes Yokohama tyres in Europe and has a network of 24 car showrooms in Britain, was previously reported to be interested in Kwik-Fit.

Itochu was founded in 1858 and employs more than 4,000 staff.

It deals with a wide range of products including textiles, machinery, IT, aerospace, energy, food and finance.

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