Fleet News

More upheaval for glass repair industry?

THE fleet glass repair industry could be set for its second major shake-up in as many years amid rumours that the AA could be planning to buy AutoWindscreens. The purchase would almost certainly renew a battle for business launched last year when Ford-owned Kwik-Fit bought Silver Shield Screens for £8 million and announced plans for massive expansion.

Kwik-Fit was rumoured to have also looked at AutoWindscreens, along with Lex Service, but the AA has emerged as the favourite to take on the firm, which is expected to fetch about £100 million to £110 million. Chesterfield-based AutoWindscreens is owned by HSBC Private Equity, which bought the windscreen repair firm in 1998 for £77.2 million. A spokeswoman for Centrica, owner of the AA, said: 'We have said we are interested in developing the AA brand and have spoken to a number of different parties in this regard. AutoWindscreens is in that line of work, but we have nothing to announce at the moment.'

Centrica revealed its preliminary results for the year ended December 31 showed turnover leaping from £7.2 billion to £9.9 billion. Pre-tax profits, before exceptionals and goodwill amortisation, was up from £331 million to £403 million. The firm said integration of the AA into the Centrica structure continued to go well had resulted in a turnaround in profits.

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