Micheldever CEO, Duncan Wilkes
Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ (SRI) £215 million acquisition of the Micheldever Group from Graphite Capital, including Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), the UK’s second largest distributor of tyres, “ensures continuity” of the management and multi-segment brand strategy, according to MTS chief executive Duncan Wilkes. The move also extends the trend of tyre manufacturers buying into – or indeed buying back into – retail through the acquisition of the UK’s largest chains. In April 2016, Tyres & Accessories pointed out that Micheldever’s Protyre chain was the largest growing in the annual survey of the market’s retail landscape – a factor that will have informed the purchase – and three of the top five (Michelin’s ATS Euromaster and Goodyear Dunlop’s HiQ franchise chain) are now manufacturer controlled. SRI, represented in the UK and Europe most prominently by the Falken brand, which is distributed by MTS, is the world’s sixth largest tyre manufacturer.
According to Micheldever, the deal, subject to European Commission approval, allows SRI to take control of a fast-growing, successful and profitable company, and to secure and develop its route to market in the UK for the Falken brand, allowing the company to invest more in marketing Falken to increase brand awareness.
Duncan Wilkes, chief executive of MTS, said: “This announcement highlights the success that MTS has enjoyed over the last ten years and the growth the company has experienced under Graphite Capital’s ownership. SRI is fully committed to the UK market and to supporting our proven approach to growing the business. Today’s transaction ensures continuity of both management and of our successful multi-brand, multi-segment strategy.
“Our success has been built on MTS offering customers a wide range of brands, providing choice across budget, mid-range and premium categories. We will remain fully committed to selling and developing all these brands as we look to future growth. ”
SRI is headquartered in Kobe, Japan, employing more than 33,000 people worldwide and generating 86 percent of revenues from its tyre business. There will be no change to MTS’ current management structure, with all executive directors remaining in role and continuing to drive long-term success.
Wilkes added: “The approach that SRI has taken with this transaction is for MTS to run exactly as it has done in recent years. This means that there will be complete continuity of customer contact at all levels in the business, enabling us to continue to develop our business with customers across the UK. In particular, our existing strategy of providing our customers with a range of added-value tools that help them to grow their business will remain a cornerstone of our future.”