The Parts Alliance wins ‘Best UK Automotive Transactions’ in international business awards

The Parts Alliance has won recognition for achieving the ‘Best UK Automotive Transactions in 2014’ in new business awards that look at mergers and acquisitions across the globe.

A panel of financial professionals and writers judged the Parts Alliance a winner in the Automobile and Parts sector, noting the group’s rapid growth and financial performance as well as other key strengths such as customer service, employee development and overall strategy.

The inaugural Sector Success Awards are run by the business website Deal Feed International.

Announcing the Parts Alliance’s win Mark Toon, the website’s editor, said: “The past 12 months have seen some outstanding cross-sector achievements by some of the corporate world’s leading players, including yourselves.

“From large corporations and top-tier management to smaller enterprises, all were subjected to the same rigorous judging process as we left no stone unturned in our search for the best of the best in their sector.

“Every one of our winners was highlighted to us by the many clients and customers they have helped. You can be rightly proud of your achievements.”

The Parts Alliance chief executive Peter Sephton said: “It’s always exciting when you receive an independent endorsement like this one. It’s a vote of confidence in the way we are taking the business forward and in each of our valued employees who have contributed to our success

“This year the Parts Alliance has been involved in five successful acquisitions and with the backing of our investor HgCapital we continue to be powered for growth.”

Dynamic blueprint for 2015 and beyond unveiled

In a closing-year statement, The Parts Alliance has unveiled a dynamic blueprint for 2015 and reflected on outstanding success in 2014.

Fuelled by HgCapital’s £2 billion automotive fund, The Parts Alliance is celebrating:

  • the acquisition and integration of former associate member Car Parts & Accessories (CPA).
  • outstanding results achieved by its newly-acquired business Bromsgrove Motor Factors.
  • stellar performance in National Accounts business which has grown by 100%.
  • the addition of over 100 new garages to the Servicesure Autocentres network.
  • trading well above expectations of 15 branches bought from Unipart Automotive.
  • being a founding partner in Nexus Automotive International, the major new autoparts distribution group covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Chief Executive Peter Sephton also announced a series of innovative programmes, including industry-firsts, that will further boost The Parts Alliance’s national coverage, make the ordering and delivery of parts even faster, and enhance its garage programme, already the best value in the aftermarket.

Peter said: “We have made outstanding progress this year on several fronts as we have continued our long term investment plan.

“Strategic purchases such as CPA are a clear statement of our ongoing commitment to acquire and invest in high quality, profitable factors, along with infrastructure, to create a sustainable market leading position for The Parts Alliance. Our National Accounts performance has been truly outstanding. We are delighted The Parts Alliance has been able to secure high profile contracts that include the prestigious AA and National Tyre accounts, along with increasing business with our existing National Accounts customer base.”

Another highlight was the improved performance of the 15 branches acquired after Unipart Automotive went into receivership and the smooth transfer of staff and customers to The Parts Alliance.

“The absolute truth is these 15 branches, now the under The Parts Alliance brands, are trading above and beyond expectation having only joined The Parts Alliance family three months ago.

“Their excellent staff have truly appreciated the comprehensive stock pack of premium OE matching brands linked to our catalogue system and these new customers appreciate the breadth, quality and competitiveness of our branded products,” he said.

Three major initiatives unveiled today are:

  • Creation of The Parts Alliance Factors programme, a franchise opportunity for independents to distribute autoparts in new areas of the UK for The Parts Alliance.
  • The launch of AlliCat X, a turbo-charged version of the already class leading electronic cataloguing and ordering system that will enable customer orders to be processed 25% faster and which will be in place across the network by the end of 2014. The AlliCat family of systems covers electronic cataloguing, menu pricing and incorporates GS OneStop. In combination this is the leading suite of solutions for garages, National Accounts and The Parts Alliance’s own branches.
  • Strengthening of Servicesure Autocentres with a host of new benefits and with industry-first concepts ready which have already attracted 104 new members in just three months.
  • Peter said: “Our promise is ‘National Coverage, Local Strength’ and the creation of our Parts Alliance Factors programme is a prime example of how we will be working with independent factors to guarantee complete coverage of the UK with effective local delivery on the ground.

“It is a great opportunity for independent factors to build their business by being part of the UK and Ireland’s leading automotive distribution network, supported by The Parts Alliance’s buying power, class leading systems and National Accounts experience.

“The launch of AlliCat X is a technological advance on a system that is already recognised as the class leading catalogue system in Europe and it also provides the platform for a series of innovations planned through 2015.

“This new version enables customer orders to be processed 25% faster with even more accuracy, further enhancing our ability to achieve the lowest return rates in the industry.

“Our Servicesure Autocentres network has made huge strides and we will be announcing radical initiatives in January.

“One highlight will be our industry-leading National Advisory Panels headed by garage owners themselves. For the first time, they will have direct input and influence on the programme ensuring independent garages benefit from exactly what they need to run a successful workshop.”

Since HgC invested in The Parts Alliance Ltd in April it has achieved major success, increasing sales by the owned businesses within The Parts Alliance Group by over 50%, with Associate Member partners also making a massive contribution.

Peter said: “What never fails to impress me is the loyalty, commitment, talent and integrity of all the employees at all levels within The Parts Alliance, those companies that are associated with us but are independently owned as well as those that we have acquired and joined our family.

“The camaraderie, spirit and integrity that they live up to is at the core of our values and enables us to build for the long term, positioning The Parts Alliance as one of the leading automotive aftermarket distributors in Europe, engaging with our customers, our colleagues suppliers and other stakeholders in a responsible way and building long-term relationships.”

Peter added that while the aftermarket remained volatile The Parts Alliance has the funding that puts it in a unique position to offer security and stability to the market.

The blueprint was revealed as Andrew Page opted not to continue as an Associate Member.

Peter said: “We originally came back together in good faith to benefit from the synergy of our two businesses. But in a rapidly evolving market, we now believe the most beneficial way forward for long-term growth is for us to act as separate entities.

“We will continue to work with Andrew Page as our partner on selected National Account contracts that The Parts Alliance holds.”

The Parts Alliance and WhoCanFixMyCar.com join forces

The Parts Alliance, the UK and Ireland’s leading automotive parts buying and distribution group, is partnering with online servicing and repairs aggregator WhoCanFixMyCar.com to provide motorists nationwide with quality parts and value in their vehicle repairs and servicing through their local independent garage.

The partnership will also benefit The Parts Alliance customer garages through an increase in enquiries, along with fast and easy quoting and auto-parts purchasing processes.

Alistair Preston, co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Parts Alliance. Co-ordinating with the 13 distributors within the group has taken some time but we wanted to ensure every business is aware of the potential benefits of the partnership and has readied their teams and systems.

“It has been great to get buy-in from everyone and we are moving forward to provide even more value to motorists and garages.

“We have had nearly 50,000 people use WhoCanFixMyCar.com already and our aim is simple: to provide the motorist with choice and transparency when choosing a local garage, whilst ensuring quality parts are fitted to their vehicle.

“The Parts Alliance partnership allows us to build on this by offering quality auto-parts and, given its penetration in the UK independent sector, the opportunity to offer a much larger network of competitively-priced, customer-rated garages to the consumer.”

WhoCanFixMyCar.com intends to grow its affiliated network from 5,000 to 12,000 garages by the end of 2015.

Peter Smart, head of marketing for The Parts Alliance, said: “Partnering with WhoCanFixMyCar.com makes perfect sense for us. Giving motorists access to our range of more than 400,000 OE matching quality parts through their local garages, enabled by WhoCanFixMyCar.com, means we can help ensure they are getting the best quality parts fitted at really great value and backed up with a comprehensive parts warranty.

“We will work closely with our garage customers to help them win business through WhoCanFixMyCar.com, whether it’s how to generate quick, high quality quotations or ensuring they are getting the most out of the customer reviews.

“We’re seeing fantastic results with garages recently signing up to WhoCanFixMyCar.com winning work straight away, especially those garages that are part of our national Servicesure Autocentre network.”

The Parts Alliance acquires Car Parts & Accessories

The Parts Alliance, backed by HgCapital, has made its eighth acquisition, buying associate member Car Parts & Accessories (CPA).

CPA, established in 1995, employs 120 people in 12 branches serving Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey. It has a delivery fleet of 60 vehicles and a turnover approaching £12 million.

The acquisition was completed on Friday 26 September with CPA’s Managing Director Keith Anderson and other CPA leaders continuing with the autoparts distributor.

CPA becomes part of the Eastern Alliance of HgCapital-owned businesses within The Parts Alliance, the others being Allparts Automotive and SC Motor Factors.

The inclusion of CPA brings the number of branches in the Eastern Alliance to 33. The Western Alliance comprises GMF and CES UK.

James Geldart, MD of the Eastern Alliance, said: “I am delighted to have CPA as part of our business portfolio and I welcome all their employees to our family.”

The Alliance businesses work closely together sharing common systems and best practice but trade locally under individual brand names.

Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, said: “CPA is a great business with an exceptional commitment to customer service.

“We have been working closely with Keith Anderson and his team to bring them into our family of businesses. At The Parts Alliance we invest in our people and it is clear from the dedication and camaraderie of the team at CPA that they will fit straight in.”

Keith Anderson said: “We are looking forward to integrating further with The Parts Alliance and becoming an even greater business as the group expands into a market leader.”

The Parts Alliance recruits 500 former Unipart Automotive employees

The Parts Alliance has taken on around 500 ex-employees of Unipart Automotive in the weeks leading up to and two weeks since the former parts distributor closed – with the number set to grow.

Some 320 jobs were saved when, in a joint rescue deal, The Parts Alliance and The Parts Alliance associate member Andrew Page agreed to take over 33 Unipart Automotive branches.

Peter Sephton, chief executive of The Parts Alliance, said: “It has been sad to see the decline and demise of Unipart Automotive. We have worked hard to interview and re-employ close to 500 talented individuals whose great experience and skills will benefit The Parts Alliance and our customers.

“Those re-employed include people at all levels, from senior members of the National Accounts team and Regional Directors to parts advisors, branch managers, business and operations specialists.”

‘’We take great care to allow prospective colleagues to understand us and our values, and get to know them. All too often I see employers making knee jerk reactions and false promises, offering jobs to people they have never seen or who have never seen and evaluated them. These are peoples lives we are dealing and it impacts their communities and families, so we owe it to all or colleagues to be open and transparent’

Sephton said The Parts Alliance had become the natural employer of choice in the sector as people have increasingly recognised the business group’s integrity and commitment to be a first choice place to work, backed by long-term substantial financial security.

He added: “We take great care to respect the individual and diversity in all respects, providing an environment in which colleagues can express their opinions and help us to build a great future together, while we invest in their development.”

Sephton said the recruitment drive is further proof of The Parts Alliance’s commitment to its existing customer base and others who are increasingly turning to it for quality products and services.

This, coupled with a quality parts offering, passion for service and industry leading catalogue and garage systems, with the most accurate look-up for parts of any supplier in the aftermarket with our proprietary Alicat online system, all help customers be more productive in their own businesses, and ultimately be more profitable, he said.

The HgCapital-backed The Parts Alliance has the largest distribution network in the automotive aftermarket with 278 branches across the UK and Ireland.

Unipart Automotive deal safeguards over 300 jobs

In its bid to become a £1 billion turnover group, leading UK and Ireland automotive buying and distribution group, HgCapital-owned The Parts Alliance, together with latest associate member Andrew Page, today announced its joint acquisition of 33 branches from the former Unipart Automotive, which has entered administration.

The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, bolsters The Parts Alliance network to 278 branches nationwide and reflects its ambition to capture more great regional talent and brands under The Parts Alliance umbrella and pursue its dynamic growth strategy.

Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, said: “This is a real opportunity for us to safeguard and integrate more industry talent with some of the excellent staff from Unipart Automotive who will be joining us. As a service-centric organisation, the quality and calibre of our teams is a vital ingredient in our success, along with best-in-market products, systems and practices. This further increases our service levels to our major national and independent customers.

It is, of course, deeply sad when businesses enter administration as jobs are inevitably lost, but we are pleased that through this deal we will be saving over 300 jobs and bringing these into the fold” he added.

HgCapital, the investment company with a £2 billion fund and a commitment that The Parts Alliance would be ‘powered for growth’ has enabled quick decision making and a proactive approach to market opportunities. Focused on growing both organically and through acquisition, today’s news fuels The Parts Alliance ability to offer industry-leading service and products and power ahead with Sephton’s service-centric strategy.

The HgCapital owned members within The Parts Alliance Group are four motor factors that operate as one business divided into the Eastern Alliance (Allparts and SCMF) and Western Alliance (CES UK and GMF) but which distribute under local brand names plus the newly-acquired Bromsgrove Motor Factors. Its associate members, which trade as independently owned businesses, are Andrew Page, BBC Superfactors, BMS Superfactors, Car Parts & Accessories, Dingbro, Mill Autoquip, Motex and Qualvecom.

The Parts Alliance welcomes Bromsgrove Motor Factors to the family

The HgCapital owned The Parts Alliance business group has welcomed an exciting new addition to the ‘family’ with the acquisition of the Worcestershire-based Bromsgrove Motor Factors (BMF).

BMF was founded in 1978 and has branches in Bromsgrove, Redditch, Worcester and Kidderminster, with a delivery fleet of 30 and a staff of 65.

The acquisition comes only 11 weeks after The Parts Alliance Ltd itself was acquired by HgCapital, the investment company with a £2 billion automotive fund and a commitment that the Parts Alliance would be ‘powered for growth’.

The Parts Alliance’s new Chief Executive Peter Sephton said he was excited to be welcoming new colleagues from BMF to the HgCapital backed Parts Alliance group ‘family’.

He said: “Bromsgrove Motor Factors is a great business with outstanding customer and staff loyalty, providing local service in the Worcestershire area, and adds to our national strength. This deal is an early demonstration of our declared aim to grow quickly, both organically and through the acquisition of successful parts distributor companies, large and small.”

When Sephton became Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance (April 2014) he retained his role as Group CEO of the HgCapital-owned Parts Alliance members that trade under local brand names and are organised into The Western Alliance and The Eastern Alliance.

“Since our investors HgCapital bought those businesses we have made significant strides in bringing them together, integrating best practice and introducing unified systems while encouraging a common vision and culture, but retaining the local brands, entrepreneurial spirit and customer focus,” said Sephton.

“This investment in our people has delivered a new level of camaraderie and confidence, which will be extended to our new colleagues from BMF, and I am delighted that MD Gary Kennett and Director Anthony Rollings will continue to lead the company and continue to grow the business. I am also delighted Gary has agreed to join our senior group leadership team to help us build a national market leader.”

Gary Kennett said: “We are looking forward to working with Peter Sephton and the rest of the management team and developing Bromsgrove Motors Factors into an even greater business.”

Powered for growth following aquisition by HgCapital

The Parts Alliance group has significantly strengthened its position as an industry leader in the automotive aftermarket after reaching a landmark agreement for investors HgCapital (HgC) to acquire the business ‘The Parts Alliance Ltd’ along with its Central Facilities operations of offices in Solihull and central warehouse in Smethwick, both in the Birmingham area and from where it services its members.

The acquisition, completed on Friday 4 April, sees Peter Sephton becoming Chief Executive and pledging ‘to build an industry leading board of industry experts’ to drive the enhanced business forward with quick decision-making and ‘best in class’ systems and practices.

Peter Sephton retains his role as Group CEO of the HgCapital-owned Parts Alliance members which trade under local brand names and are organised into The Western Alliance and The Eastern Alliance.

The other member companies (BBC Superfactors, BMS Superfactors, Car Parts & Accessories, Dingbro, Mill Autoquip, Motex and Qualvecom) become associate members. They continue to trade as independent businesses and were not part of the acquisition, though remain fully involved in The Parts Alliance activities with representation on the board. At the same time Central Auto Supplies will leave the group and has been granted a six-month notice period.

Sephton said: “From the outset we and our investors, HgCapital, recognised the value and potential of The Parts Alliance as a leading industry organisation. This further investment provides scope for enhancing performance further through a more dynamic and unified operating model.

“This will see us able to deliver even greater value to our members, suppliers and customers, both national accounts and, through our members, independent garages.

“The Parts Alliance is already one of the leading automotive buying and distribution groups in the UK and Ireland and we confidently believe that we can be even better,” said Sephton.

Early objectives will include the adoption of a more integrated commercial function, allowing greater clarity and visibility of the business and a customer and service-centric approach, with closer relationships with clients and sharper management of the supplier base. There is also the opportunity for new member distributors.

Sephton added: “It is important to underline that although we fully intend to enhance and revitalise elements of the operation, The Parts Alliance will very much remain a consultative business group at its heart, operating with joined-up commercial thinking.

“This deal is a game-changer not just for The Parts Alliance but for the aftermarket. There is much change and uncertainty in the marketplace. But here we have an organisation that is powered for growth with HgCapital behind it, expert investors with a two billion pounds fund and a heritage of seeking out and backing industry champions.”

The Parts Alliance Chairman and founder Steve Fulford, who was central to negotiations as they evolved over the past year, is stepping down but will continue to advise the board.

He said: “This further investment by HgCapital is more positive news for The Parts Alliance. As the largest unified national player in the aftermarket, this deal will not only help build on the group’s achievements of the past 14 years but, through developing a best in class commercial structure and an invigorated team, it heralds good news for all involved.”

The Parts Alliance becomes founding partner in Nexus Automotive International

Independent garage owners in the UK and Ireland will benefit from the launch of a major new international autoparts distribution group which has been created to service the global automotive aftermarket, with The Parts Alliance a key founding member. Nexus Automotive International (N!) brings together leading distributors in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Together they will work with a wide range of suppliers which over time, through The Parts Alliance, will provide independent garages with greater choice and value.

Alongside The Parts Alliance the other founding partners are based in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy,Belgium, Finland, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Jordan, Lebanon, Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Ghana.

Steve Fulford, chairman of The Parts Alliance, said: “The Parts Alliance is a major force in the UK and Ireland. Now as a founding partner in this new international group, it will enable us to expand our horizons.

“We have substantial volumes of purchasing and by aligning ourselves with other partners across Europe, and in emerging economies, we will be able to create additional value for those who invest in our business while helping our customers, including independent garage owners, provide better choice and value for their customers.”

The new group is planning to expand rapidly in the next three years and began ramping up activity with a Strategic Suppliers Conference, held in Geneva in March, which was open to 45 of the world’s leading automotive suppliers.