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Lookers buys APEC Braking for £9.25m

Franchised motor retail group Lookers has bought parts distributor APEC Braking in a £9.25m transaction.

APEC is a supplier of quality own-branded braking parts to motor factors and buying groups nationwide. The acquisition continues Lookers’ strategy to strengthen its aftermarket operations, following its takeover of FPS last year. The addition of APEC’s £15m turnover, added to FPS’s £90m revenue, means that parts wholesaling will now account for some 10% of Lookers’ £1.1bn annual turnover.

Ken Surgenor, chief executive, says he is “delighted” and expects APEC to be earnings enhancing from January. In 2004 its adjusted operating profits totalled £1.4m.

“Aftersales and parts is one of the fastest growing segments of the automotive market and currently contributes 53% of Lookers’ gross profits,” he adds.

APEC will continue to trade as a limited company under its existing name and from its existing location, a 40,000sq ft warehouse in Yate, Bristol.

The sale allows APEC’s founders, Jenny and Roger Maggs, to retire from the business once a short handover period is completed. Sales director Steven Fisher, who has been with APEC for 15 years, becomes director and general manager and will head its 50-strong team. He now plans to recruit a product manager and marketing assistant.

Fisher says there will be no inter-trading between APEC and other group businesses. “FPS has its own market, APEC has its own and Lookers has its own, and all three are successful companies independently. Lookers has the good sense not to try to fix something that isn’t broken.”

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