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Howard Basford on the acquisition trail

Howard Basford, Britain’s largest independently owned accident repair group, is actively seeking to increase its network of nine sites across the north west.

The £22 million turnover group yesterday confirmed its intention to pursue a policy of further growth following two significant acquisitions last year which saw the company expanding into Manchester and north Wales.

Howard Basford is responding to a ‘clear market demand for increased quality bodyshop capacity’, according to managing director Neil Kirk.

“There is a general desire from the insurance sector to create deeper and more meaningful relationships with bodyshop groups who can offer significant capacity, a consistency of quality and aligned thinking”, said Kirk from his office at the company’s Ledsham, Wirral HQ.

During 2006, Howard Basford acquired Roberts & Ellis in Mold, north Wales and Gateway Autos in Trafford Park taking their network to nine sites.

Howard Basford will be putting its first site through the new PAS 125 quality standard accreditation procedure soon. This is a new initiative in the bodyshop sector which Howard Basford ‘strongly supports’. Kirk said it was likely that Howard Basford would adopt the PAS 125 throughout its entire network.

Tracy Howard, Howard Basford company chairman, said: “I am keen to speak with business owners who are considering withdrawing from the bodyshop industry, perhaps because of the considerable investment in plant and training required to stay ahead of the game in an ever more technically demanding sector.

“All too often, we find that businesses have closed or experienced financial failure, when Howard Basford may have been prepared to consider making a purchase. After all, we are determined to take our leading edge and quality body repair solution to a wider audience.”

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