Kwik-Fit expands in Europe

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Kwik-Fit yesterday announced plans for a rapid expansion of its car repairs business into continental Europe. Sir Tom Farmer, the group's chairman, is also considering setting up a breakdown service to take on the Automobile Association and the RAC.

Sir Tom said: "We want to develop the Kwik-Fit name. Kwik-Fit could lend itself very well to breakdown services."

Kwik-Fit's plans to take on the likes of the AA and RAC are still in their infancy. "The idea is just a twinkle in somebody's eye at the moment," said Sir Tom. But he indicated the move was a serious prospect for the group over the next few years. Kwik-Fit could use its national network of centres to offer a range of pick up and repair services.

Meanwhile Kwik-Fit announced an aggressive push into continental Europe. It is opening another 25 outlets in Holland and Belgium in the next six months to add to its 156 sites there. Kwik-Fit is also planning to start up operations throughout Scandinavia.

Kwik-Fit has spent pounds 14m on new stores in the past six months.

The company beat analysts' forecasts by announcing a 17 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the half year to August. Its shares rose 23.5p to 308.5p.