Following the news that Halfords Group is buying Axle Group Holdings Ltd including 239 National Tyres garages and 60 mobile tyre fitting vans, further details relating to the transaction have emerged. Firstly, while company announcements refer to the purchase of “National”, Halfords’ latest acquisition actually sees the company purchase the entire issued share capital of Axle Group Holdings Ltd (“National”) for £62 million. And the transaction is expected to be completed on 9 December 2021.
Halfords is paying £62 million for National, the tyre and automotive servicing, maintenance and repair business, which operates under the National Tyres and Autocare, Viking Wholesale Tyres and Tyre Shopper brands. As a result, Halfords’ garage estate will grow by more than 60 per cent (from 372 to 604 garages), offering MOT, servicing, fitting and repair services. According to Halfords, this deal makes it “the largest vehicle service, maintenance and repair business in the UK, with the majority of UK households within a 20-minute drive of a Halfords garage.” However, Tyres & Accessories data suggests European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL), which incorporates 650 Kwik Fits in its portfolio, is still the largest in the UK with a total estate of 740 at the last count.
Axle Group Holdings Limited, which incorporates National Tyres and Autocare, National Fleet and Viking Wholesale Tyres, has appointed Alastair Lawrence as group procurement director. Lawrence will be taking over from Peter Harries who retires in December after 11 years with the group. The role will focus on developing and implementing the group purchasing strategy whilst maximising growth and maintaining effective supplier relationships.
National Tyres and Autocare has issued a statement clarifying that it is not associated with another business operating in the market called “National Tyres Network”. Writing in a statement issued 8 August, the company said: “Axle Group Holdings Limited (which owns National Tyres and Autocare and sister company Viking Wholesale Tyres) works closely with a network of over 3000 independent garages throughout the UK and believe raising awareness of this issue is in the interests of both the industry and our network. Any approach from National Tyres Network Limited is not in any way associated with National Tyre Service Limited or National Tyres and Autocare.”