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Nationwide swells to £140m with Gemini

Nationwide Accident Repair Services has increased its turnover to £140m with the acquisition of a rival operating 11 sites in the West Midlands for an undisclosed sum.

All bodyshops operated by Gemini Accident Repair Centres are retained by the enlarged group and will in time be branded Nationwide as the two businesses are integrated.

Tim Hopkins, Gemini’s managing director, has joined Nationwide and will manage some of his former sites while others come under Nationwide’s direct control.

Hopkins’ twin brother Andrew ran Gemini Properties and this business is also now part of Nationwide, giving it the chance for expansion into a new business area.

Michael Wilmshurst, Nationwide chief executive, says: “We and Gemini are a good cultural fit in terms of asset value and earnings potential.

“Both businesses, unlike some others in the sector, are forward-looking and progressive. Gemini and Nationwide have recognized the need to work as partners with insurers, to offer national consistency of work and to invest in the technology they demand.”

Some of Gemini’s sites are owned by the property division and leased back. “I am looking forward to working with him on this area of the business,” Wilmshurst adds. Nationwide and Gemini were both appointed Dedicated Repair Centres (DRCs) by Royal & SunAlliance last year but, says Wilmshurst, that was only one factor that led to the acquisition.

“I do not want to say any more about the DRCs while we are focusing on the Gemini integration, but that does not mean there is any problem with this aspect of the business,” he says.

Nationwide and Gemini signed five-year contracts to set up a guaranteed number of bodyshops to exclusively repair R&SA-insured cars. Seven of Nationwide’s sites, and one of Gemini’s, became DRCs in January, when R&SA said it wanted 20-22 DRCs in a network reduced from 320 approved bodyshops to 230-240 sites.

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