Brammer moves on to Continent

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BRAMMER, the UK's largest bearings and power transmission distributor, is paying pounds 7.3m to acquire the loss-making French market leader, Roulement Service, in its first move towards developing a pan-European distribution service, writes Terence Wilkinson.

Robert Ffoulkes-Jones, chief executive, said that Roulement Service supplied a nationwide network of 21 branches from a central store. Future expansion would be through new branches and no other acquisitions would be needed.

Roulement Service fell into losses of pounds 400,000 on sales of pounds 10m in the first half of this year after the French economy turned down.

Brammer is paying pounds 6.25m in cash initially, deferring a further pounds 1m, and is taking on pounds 5m in debt. Mr Ffoulkes-Jones said he did not expect Roulement to cover its financing costs this year but expected a contribution in 1993. Brammer shares fell by 4p to 237p.

Bearings suppliers are developing Europe-wide distribution policies and Brammer believes this presents opportunities for a limited number of pan-European distributors.

Brammer has up to 40 per cent of the UK bearings market, while Roulement Service has 10 per cent of the potentially larger French market, where manufacturing industry is stronger.