Kwik-Fit sued over sale of insurance arm

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest tyre-seller, Kwik-Fit, is being sued over liabilities relating to the £215m sale of its insurance arm in 2010.

Belgium's Ageas Insurance, which now owns Kwik-Fit Financial Services, has issued a writ in the High Court.

Kwik-Fit has yet to acknowledge the writ, leaving many of the details secret for now. However, it is thought that liabilities that Ageas do not believe they were made aware of at the time of the sale have now come to light.

Ageas has previously claimed that the Kwik-Fit deal has been a huge success. In August, Ageas's UK chief executive, Barry Smith, said that there had been a "step change" in business volumes as a result of that acquisition and the takeover of the over-50s specialist Castle Cover.

At the time of the Ageas deal, the Kwik-Fit parent group was owned by PAI Partners, a French private equity house. The 41-year-old tyre retailer, which has more than 570 centres in the UK, has since been sold to Itochu Corporation of Japan in a deal worth £637m.

A PAI spokesman said that all potential liabilities had been passed on to Itochu as a condition of the sale.

A Kwik-Fit insider said that the company was "relaxed" about the dispute.

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