Car parts and repair specialist Kwik-Fit could be valued at up to £1bn (€1.45bn) were it to be auctioned in the coming months, a report said today.
CVC Capital, which acquired the business from US motor giant Ford in 2002, is thought to be ready to appoint financial advisers after being told Kwik-Fit would command an enterprise value of between £750m (€1bn) and £1bn (€1.45bn).
A flotation is likely to be considered, although a source told the Financial Times that a sale – before the end of the summer – was more likely.
The report said other buy-out groups were likely to be interested in the company’s strong cash flow while trade interest may come from tyre makers, including Bridgestone and Michelin.
Another option could be a refinancing, where CVC loads the business with debt and pays itself a dividend while retaining a majority shareholding.
Speculation linking Kwik-Fit to an imminent flotation or sale has been circling the market since early last year. CVC is also among the backers of department store group Debenhams and pubs chain Spirit.
Edinburgh-based Kwik-Fit was established in 1971 and was sold to Ford in 1999 before CVC Capital Partners took it over for £350m (€508m). Ford had sold Kwik-Fit for £1bn (€1.45bn) but still holds a 19% stake in the business.
Since the takeover by CVC, Kwik-Fit has closed a number of sites in order to boost profitability and embarked on its first TV advertising campaign for more than five years.
And it recently appointed Ian Fraser, the former chief operating officer of mobile company Orange, as new chief executive.
The group – set up by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer – has more than 1,800 outlets across Europe, as well as 600 mobile units. It is said to have generated turnover of £750m (€1bn) and profits of £60m (€87m) in its last financial year.