Archive : Unipart buys AE network

Unipart buys AE network
By Ian Griffiths

Unipart, BL’s components subsidiary, has taken an important step towards its planned privatization with the announcement of a £1 5m deal to take over the distribution network of AE, which operates in the same industry.

Mr Ray Horrocks, Unipart’s chairman, said: “BL has the objective of returning its constituent businesses to the private sector as soon as it is practical to do so. The acquisition of Edmunds Walker Holdings is a necessary step towards achieving that objective for Unipart.”

Edmunds Walker lost £2.5m for AE last year and was on target to do the same again in 1984. Unipart is confident, however, that it can stem the losses. The great attraction is Edmunds Walker’s extensive connexions with the independent motor trade. This will complement Unipart’s existing operations, which are dominated by BL franchises. It is part of a general restructuring in an industry where it is widely recognized that there is significant overcapacity.

About 100 jobs at Edmunds Walker’s warehousing facility in Rugby are expected to go as a result of the takeover, but Unipart is hoping to integrate the remaining 1,300 employees The acquisition, which beside the Edmunds Walker distribution network also includes Truck & Trailer Components and Cardan Electrics, will initially stand on is own as a division in the Unipart group structure.

It has been estimated that the group is worth about £100m but the figure is difficult to establish because of the lack of specific financial information. Last year Unipart made an operating profit of £17m on sales of £346m.

Keith Adams

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