Japanese tire of Kwik Fit as MOT points towards sale

Kwik Fit, one of Britain’s leading tyre-fitting and automotive repair groups, is to be put up for sale by its Japanese owner almost a decade after it last changed hands.

Sky News has learnt that Itochu, the conglomerate which bought Kwik Fit for more than £630m in 2011, has asked investment bankers at Nomura to examine strategic options for the company.

A final decision about its future is yet to be determined, but City sources said that a sale process was highly likely.

An auction of Kwik Fit would come soon after National Accident Repair Services, a smaller rival operator, was rescued through an insolvency process by the listed company Redde Northgate.

Kwik Fit, which employs thousands of people, describes itself as one of the world’s largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialists.

In the UK, it trades from more than 600 service centres as well as 200 mobile tyre-fitting vehicles, which it claims makes it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MOT specialist.

The company will reach its 50th anniversary next year amid a turbulent environment for Britain’s automotive industry, with concerns about tariffs arising from a no-deal Brexit continuing to haunt car manufacturers, and vehicle sales continuing to suffer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It was unclear on Friday how much Itochu might expect to recoup from a sale.

Earlier this year, Itochu sold a portfolio of 21 Kwik Fit service centres to property investors, but there is little public detail of how the business has fared over the last year.

Kwik Fit and Nomura declined to comment.