Kwik-Fit and Stapleton’s owner ETEL buys leading tyre recycling firm Murfitts
European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL), which owns leading tyre retail and wholesale operations Kwik-Fit and Stapleton’s, has agreed the acquisition of Murfitts Industries, the country’s leading tyre recycling company. ETEL is buying 100 per cent of Murfitts Group Ltd, the parent company of Murfitts Industries. Murfitts operates a national network recycling the equivalent of around 20 million car tyres per year. Murfitts, which processes and recycles tyres into granulate, has been a long-term provider of post-consumer tyre collection and recycling services to ETEL.
Sean Tanaka, CEO of ETEL, commented: “We have a long-standing relationship with Murfitts and even as separate companies our operations have been seamlessly connected, with joined up processes. This acquisition makes clear strategic sense as we can bring the responsible collection, processing and re-manufacturing of tyre material under our own roof. This will ensure that customers, both retail and wholesale, can be confident that their used tyres are being processed in the most sustainable way possible.”
Murfitts has invested significantly in its processes, developing a sophisticated system which enables it to recover the materials used in the production of tyres and repurpose them to manufacture innovative products. These are used in areas such as sports surfaces, pathways, children’s playgrounds, carpet underlay, modified asphalt and many other industrial applications. Its products are of such high quality that they are exported to markets across the globe.
Over the last decade Murfitts has introduced processes ahead of, and exceeding, UK regulatory requirements regarding the disposal of post-consumer tyres. Recognising the global focus on the reduction of waste and the need to support the circular economy through the re-use of materials, Murfitts has also been investing in research and development to improve material recovery and reduce the use of natural resources.
In addition, the company has been developing proprietary pyrolysis technology aimed at recovering carbon black and recycled fuel oil. This technology will help promote sustainability initiatives of the tyre industry by replacing one of major raw materials of tyres, carbon black, with a recycled product.
With its UK-wide collection and processing infrastructure in place, Murfitts has the ability to supply the consistent feedstock necessary for commercial-scale pyrolysis. Bringing the company into the ETEL group will enable Murfitts to invest in accelerating the development of this process and scale up the operations.
Mark Murfitt, founder of Murfitts Industries, will remain with the company as managing director. He said: “This is the natural next step for our company. Society is becoming increasingly focused on what happens to products once they have fulfilled their initial use, but this is something we have based our entire business on from day one. I wanted to partner with a company who fully understands the tyre industry and can really help continue to develop our operations, especially on scaling up the pyrolysis programme. We are already seeing very promising results in this area which will be a game changer in reducing waste and recovering even more valuable raw material.”
The acquisition of Murfitts is the second major sustainability initiative by ETEL in recent weeks. ETEL owner Itochu launched Project Tree on 1 December, a programme which is focused on the ensuring the sustainability of natural rubber production used in tyre manufacturing. Under this project, ETEL customers can buy specific tyres which support this programme.
Stapleton’s “welcomes…new phase of partnership” with Murfitts
Representatives of ETEL’s tyre wholesale business, Stapleton’s Tyre Services, welcomed the “new phase” in its “partnership” with Murfitts Industries.
For its part, Stapleton’s has seen its customers placing a greater emphasis on the issues of sustainability and the environmental impact of the entire tyre supply chain. With Murfitts joining the ETEL group, Stapleton’s will be able to offer all its customers a fully audited integrated supply and collection process, giving them the reassurance that their motorists’ used tyres are being reprocessed responsibly.
As the balance of the car parc continues to shift towards vehicles with low or zero tail pipe emissions, there will be increasing scrutiny on the other areas in which motoring has an environmental impact, with tyres a primary focus.
As part of ETEL, Stapleton’s reports that it has been “focused on initiatives to reduce the impact of tyres in three stages – pre-life, in-life and post-life” – a focus that will be ramped up by having Murfitts under the same ownership.
Andy Fern, Stapleton’s managing director, said: “We have had many customers asking us for a complete end-of-life solution and this announcement further strengthens our approach to supporting them, at a time when the environmental impact of the entire tyre supply chain has, quite rightly, never been more scrutinised. Being able to offer audited re-processing, along with the potential to recover valuable raw materials to feed back into the production cycle will be very appealing to a lot of our customers.”
Fern highlighted that Stapleton’s national network with 11 distribution hubs also contributes to the sustainability of this pre-life phase. He said: “When considering the sustainability of a tyre it should include the impact of getting it to the point where it can be fitted to a vehicle. This means the supply of tyres within a locality has never been more relevant and important, and using our logistics expertise and scale we can maximise the efficiency of tyre delivery, from factory to hub to retail centre.”