National Tyres ‘For Sale’
National Tyres, the UK’s second largest independent fast-fit chain, is on the market with an estimated £75-£100 million price tag, according to The Telegraph. The firm, which recently reported a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in first-half sales, is said to be in talks with “a number of parties” about a possible takeover having hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise on a strategic review.
While the news that the successful retail business might be the target of a takeover is not a complete surprise, some of the parties supposedly linked to the deal weren’t as expected. Telegraph reporter Ben Harrington named Nationwide Autos, Micheldever Tyres and Kwik-Fit as key suitors. Nationwide Autos, which provides drivers with mechanical repair, servicing and MOT tests, and its private equity owners, Phoenix Equity Partners, have already made an approach to buy the company, according to Harrington.
Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, which narrowly missed out on a bid to purchase Kwik-Fit two years ago, was noticeable by its absence from the Telegraph’s list of potential buyers. Bridgestone representatives gave no response to the story, explaining that the company does not comment on speculative reporting. Kwik-Fit also refused to comment on the speculation.
Micheldever executives dismissed reports that they were interested in buying National Tyres & Autocare. “We have absolutely no intention of purchasing National Tyres or any other national equity,” Micheldever Wholesale director Alan Baldwin told Tyres & Accessories, explaining that such a move would be “completely contrary” to the company’s business strategy. “I have the utmost respect for Alan Revie and what he has done for the company, taking it from a much smaller company to where it is today,” he added.
If National Tyres is sold as expected, the deal is likely to produce a multi-million pound windfall for chairman and chief executive Alan Revie, who started working at National Tyres as a teenage fitter in the 1970s. He and three other major shareholders (John Cauldwell, John Kemp and John Taylor) joined forces to buy National Tyres from the German tyre maker Continental in 2002 for £24 million. In the first year after the takeover the four turned the loss-making operation into a business that made around £8 million from sales of £100 million.
Alan Revie, chairman and chief executive of National Tyres and Autocare was careful not to give too much away: “It is no secret that National Tyres is a hugely successful business with ambitions to grow organically and by acquisition. It is inevitable that the turnaround we have brought about in its fortunes over the last five years will attract attention from all sorts of areas. However, we will not allow rumour and speculation to distract us from our primary goal of building a successful business that provides great service to its customers.”