Fleet News

Mild weather hits Kwik-Fit

FAST-fit operator Kwik-Fit saw 735p wiped off its share price on Monday after announcing that December's mild weather led to lower demand for replacement batteries, tyres and exhausts than previously expected. Shares slumped 14% to 462p after chairman Sir Tom Farmer said: 'Trading in December did not provide the seasonal uplift which we traditionally experience, perhaps due to weather conditions.'

Following the trading statement analysts cut Kwik-Fit's predicted 1998/99 pre-tax profits by up to £5 million to £59 million (1997/98: £55.1 million). But as snow and freezing cold weather gripped much of the country this week Sir Tom added: 'Nevertheless our expectations for winter sales demand in January and February should ensure a satisfactory result for the year.'

Kwik-Fit Group's year end is February 28 and trading for the 10 months to December is ahead of last year despite last month's fall-off. The announcement came as Kwik-Fit completed the acquisition of 568 automotive tyre and exhaust centres owned by SMK Speedy International - Kwik-Fit now operates from 1,880 centres. The outlets operate under the name Speedy in France, Belgium and Spain and Pitstop in Germany, and cost £105 million. The acquisition was announced last year.

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