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Copart builds UK network with purchase of Century Salvage

Copart, which bought Universal Vehicle Services in April, has continued its UK expansion by acquiring Basildon-based Century Salvage Sales and its three sites.

The California-based group now has 10 UK sites in a global network of 134.

Other UK operators are expected to be swept into the Copart group as it builds a stake in the growing reclamation and recycling market, driven by European legislation and changing public attitudes.

The introduction of EC end of life vehicle regulations (ELV) is encouraging consolidation among salvage companies as manufacturers seek contracts for disposing of the cars they built.

Century Salvage was a family-owned business known in the sector as a professional company that invested in new technology and modern business methods.

It collects more than 30,000 salvaged vehicles a year, extracting recyclable materials or selling the vehicles through auctions. Century is a co-founder of the British Vehicle Salvage Federation.

Copart, founded in 1982, processes and sells salvage vehicles for insurance and other companies to licensed dismantlers, rebuilders and used vehicle dealers.

It paid £57m in cash for Bedfordshire-based Universal Vehicles Services, previously called Universal Salvage, which scraps written-off cars and auctions damaged cars for insurance companies.

At the time of Universal’s acquisition Copart president Jayson Adair said it would allow Copart to expand its operations into the UK. “The combination of both businesses will allow us to provide an improved service to our customers,” he said.

A UK Copart spokeswoman says the group does not give details about its business plans, such as possible further acquisitions.

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