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Autotrade news: Burrows eyes HiQ buyout

Neil Burrows, managing director of HiQ, has expressed an interest in buying the fast-fit operation from its parent company, Goodyear Dunlop.

The company began seeking franchisees for its 109 company-owned stores on March 31, splitting the network into 15 areas covering England and Wales.

Scottish and Northern Irish regions are already franchised to Modern Tyres and McConechy’s.

HiQ’s aim is to create partnerships which will accelerate its three-year expansion plan, formerly aimed at boosting its owned network to 250 branches.

As well as embarking on a major re-branding operation, the company opened 10 new stores in 2007.

Each region contains several open points with more than £1 million expected turnover.

The deadline for bids is May 16 and Mark Brickhill, group managing director for Goodyear Dunlop in the UK and Ireland, said that interest in 14 of the 15 regions was “encouraging”.

Potential franchisees include some who are new to the sector, as well as Burrows and three other members of the HiQ management, who have expressed a joint interest in investing in the company.

A formal announcement is expected in the summer.

The network’s branding and supply relationship with Goodyear Dunlop will continue regardless of the result and AM understands that franchisee opportunities are likely to be offered under the management buyout if it goes ahead.

Brickhill said the aim was to establish a two-way relationship with new franchisees and pull the net- work together for quicker growth through localised management.

“We’re looking for people who can show a commitment to grow,” he said.

“Some existing franchisees have expressed an interest in taking on one of the regions. Some of these have one site, others have more than one.

What we’re looking to attract is people who can run multiple sites.

“We’ve had a number of expressions of national interest, but our preference is to have regions.

If they’re successful then it’s a one-stop shop, but it’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket.”

Burrows and the other management team members have been assigned different roles within Goodyear Dunlop until the decisions are finalised.

Until then, HiQ will be managed by former Goodyear Dunlop commercial director Robin Sharpe.

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