Kwik-Fit sells to expand: Branch leaseback deal to fund plans for 50 new centres

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KWIK-FIT, the tyre, exhaust and brake replacement group, stepped up its expansion programme yesterday with an acquisition and a sale and leaseback deal on 20 branches.

The company is paying pounds 1m for a 70 per cent stake in Town & Country Tyre Service, Britain's largest mobile tyre-fitting operation. Town & Country has 27 vans on call in London and Kwik-Fit plans to use it as a base to create a national network of about 150 vehicles.

Kwik-Fit also signed a contract with the property investment company Dukeminster to sell 20 centres for pounds 10.25m and lease them back for 30 years at annual rents of pounds 1m.

The deal is aimed at releasing resources to open more branches. The company plans to open 50 centres in the next 18 months towards a target of 600 UK sites set by Tom Farmer, the chairman and chief executive. Kwik-Fit currently has about 624 depots, about 400 in the UK and others in Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company will make a profit of almost pounds 4m after the deal.

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