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Autoclenz MBO as it bids to clean up in car preparation

Autoclenz is targeting for a commanding share of the fragmented outsourced vehicle preparation sector, following an £18m management buy-out from Yule Catto, the chemicals group.

The management team raised the money in a share placement on the Alternative Investment Market. Other companies showed an interest in buying the business, which was acquired by Yule Catto in 1990.

John Bell, the Autoclenz non-executive chairman, was responsible for integrating the company into Yule Catto, where he was a director. “Autoclenz has a strong position within the UK vehicle valeting market, and I believe there are significant opportunities for further growth,” he says.

Autoclenz estimates the total market for car valeting services is worth more than £350m a year and claims it has a 25% of the outsourced market. Its nearest rival takes 15%.

“The sector is dominated by in-house providers but there is scope for expansion in outsourcing as dealer groups see the potential of economies of scale,” says Graeme Rummery, Autoclenz managing director.

“We offer dealer groups, auction companies and daily rental firms a fixed price per car for valeting and anything needed from our Smart bodywork, windscreen and upholstery repair service.”

Rummery says Autoclenz is always talking to dealer groups about new business. The company has a contract with Pendragon and does some work for Reg Vardy – he is watching the progress of the bid closely.

Other clients include Inchcape, Autologic, Avis, National Car Rental and British Car Auctions.

The Autoclenz React division works for public sector clients, including police forces and the prison service, and is growing. The company manages between 1,000-1,250 sub-contracted operators on around 230 client sites, supported by mobile teams.

Its Pinnacle division provides valeting for marques such as BMW, and the Smart division launched three years ago offers bodywork, windscreen and upholstery repairs.

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