Kwik Fit Group confirms plans to sell Speedy, MBO plans
Kwik Fit Group has confirmed its intention to sell Speedy, the group’s French automotive fast-fit company. The announcement confirms earlier reports tyrepress.com published in September that suggested that the business’s suitors included president Jacques Le Foll, his predecessor Giles Chauveau, backed by investment fund Butler Capital, plus automotive centre operator Feu Vert, who previously had its eye on Speedy some four years ago. (Feu Vert is a French workshop and automotive specialty shop chain that operates more than 400 outlets, around three-quarters of which are located in France).
However to bring things up to speed, the latest information, issued 20 October, explains that Kwik Fit Group has received “a binding offer from the existing management team” led by the company’s current president, Jacques Le Foll, and backed by Mauritius Commercial Bank. Financial terms of the offer have not been disclosed. The offer marks the entry by the investors and Kwik Fit Group into what are described as “final discussions for the disposal of 100 per cent of Speedy.” Although known as the biggest fast fit in France, in addition to its 463 French outlets, the company runs a further 88 franchise outlets in countries including Turkey, the Netherlands, Morocco, Belgium, Hungary and French overseas territories.
Speedy, which is one of the most highly recognised automotive repair and replacement brands in France, operates the largest single network of fast-fit centres in the country (463 centres in prime locations). Speedy employs 1,800 staff and attracts over one million retail customers per year and 1,100 fleet customers under contract. Speedy was founded in 1978 and was acquired by Kwik Fit in 1999.
The proposed sale of Speedy follows the acquisition of the Kwik Fit Group by Itochu Corporation, which was completed in June 2011. It follows a review of the entire organisation which concluded that Speedy’s “growth potential would be best fulfilled with the company operating outside the Kwik Fit Group.”
Speedy reports that it will shortly launch the information and consultation process of its works council or “comité d’entreprise” with respect to the investors’ offer as required by law. The transaction is also subject to clearance by the competition authorities. However, closing is expected to take place before the end of the year.
Nomura is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Itochu and Kwik Fit Group on this transaction.