The AA’s former private equity owners were accused yesterday of leading “a smash and grab robbery” on the company after it unveiled plans to cut up to 300 jobs.
Britain’s largest roadside recovery group said the cuts are part of a strategic review started last year by its new management team, led by the former Green Flag boss, Bob Mackenzie.
The AA was owned by its members until 1999 when it was acquired by Centrica for £1.1bn. The energy group eventually sold the AA to CVC and Permira five years later, who then combined it with over-50s group Saga in a highly leveraged £6.2bn merger. It changed hands once again last year in an unusual buy-in deal that was backed by City investors like Aviva and BlackRock, who floated it on the London Stock Exchange in June.
Many of the cuts will be made at its Hampshire headquarters. The AA said it will be creating 50 new “frontline roadside” jobs at the same time.
Mr Mackenzie said: “Our plan is to strengthen the relationships we have with our 13 million customers and members by offering an enhanced experience. In achieving this objective, there will be a benefit to all our stakeholders.”
The move was criticised by unions, who remain in consultation with the company.
Paul Maloney, GMB regional secretary, said: “The purchase of the AA by private equity back in 2005 has turned out to be a smash and grab robbery of a great British company.
“The sale to Saga continued the pattern of leaving the AA high and dry, with billions of pounds of debt, while the private equity owners retired with the cash and left motorist and staff to pick up the pieces.”Reuse content