H2 acquiring controlling stake in Unipart

H2 Equity Partners has announced plans to acquire a controlling stake in Unipart Automotive, the UK’s largest independent supplier of car parts, workshop consumables and garage equipment. Unipart Automotive is currently owned by Unipart Group. The agreement, which is expected to be concluded shortly, sees H2 Equity Partners taking majority ownership in the UK operation. Unipart Group will hold onto 49.9 per cent. Patrick Kalverboer, managing partner at H2, will become executive chairman of the new company.

Unipart Automotive has around 175 branches with sales of over £180 million. It is expected that some 2,100 employees nationally will transfer to the new company, which will continue to trade under the Unipart Automotive brand.

H2 has a controlling interest in Sator Holding B.V. — the market leading importer and distributor of parts for the automotive aftermarket in the Benelux, and Northern France. According to the company’s the acquisition of Unipart Automotive, allows H2 to promote “best practise” cooperation between Sator Holding and Unipart Automotive for topics such as product management, IT systems and sourcing capabilities.

To promote synergies between Sator and Unipart Automotive, H2 Equity Partners has created a new buying group called AP United, which will combine the purchasing volumes and ranges of both companies and improve efficiencies for both its suppliers as well as its members.

AP United will be chaired by Roggeveen, the former CEO of Sator Holding. Over the next few months it is planned that UA will significantly expand the current range of parts and accessories available to Unipart’s customers to around 160,000 products making it the most comprehensive automotive replacement parts offering available in the UK.

Unipart Group has already invested very significantly over several years to equip its aftermarket operations with new systems for logistics, IT and branch management, as well as improving availability and range. Apparently the next step is a “multi-million pound, joint forward investment programme” that could see the company “grow to rank as one of the top five automotive aftermarket companies in Europe “

Commenting on the announcement, Patrick Kalverboer said: “We are pleased to announce that we expect to acquire a controlling interest in Unipart Automotive and we are delighted that we will continue to be working with Unipart Group to build Unipart Automotive into one of the leading automotive aftermarket companies in Europe. “

According to Unipart Group chief executive John Neill, the group was strongly attracted to H2 and Sator because of their strategic commitment to the sector and the strong opportunities for synergy.

Unipart Group reports that it will continue to develop its core businesses, which provide consulting, logistics and manufacturing services across a wide range of sectors including automotive, rail, leisure, IT, telecoms, retail, and the public sector


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