Axle Group; turned around and heading on a new course
To Continental, National Tyres and Autocare and Viking International and associated trimmings were a collective albatross around the neck of the UK division. After years of loss-making Conti made the decision to cut its losses.
The company and its assets were bought from Continental for a figure that, depending upon how the numbers are crunched, is either 15 million, or 24 million pounds. Some would say that was a lot of money for a business on its last legs. The long and the short of it was though that National came into the ownership of the Axle Group, a parent company formed during the management buy out of National, where most of the management team had built careers out of the fast fit trade – almost all having been employed on the shop floor at retail level at some point in their career. Alan Revie had been manager at Smiley’s Langside outlet and had taken on John Caldwell as a fitter – now Revie heads the Axle Group and Cauldwell heads the wholesale operation. The people at the helm of National were thoroughbred fast fit experts who knew the business inside out.
The fiscal arrangements of the business have been, by now, well documented but the purchase price of the business was met largely through the revaluation and sale of properties no longer required by the Axle Group. The outcome is that the Group has no debts and is currently in a very strong position, and Alan Revie makes a point in talking to T&A of emphasising that fact.