Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Car parts firm in administration

Soli-hull-based firm Unipart Automotive is one of the UK's largest suppliers of car parts and garage equipment

Unipart Automotive - one of the UK's largest suppliers of car parts and garage equipment - has gone into administration with the loss of more than 1,200 jobs.

Based in Solihull, the company operated 80 branches and distribution hubs trading as Unipart Automotive, Partco Autoparts, and Express Factors.

Following the appointment of administrators from KPMG, part of the business was sold to Andrew Page and The Parts Alliance, saving 33 branches and 361 staff.

But KPMG said the r emainder of the Unipart Automotive business has ceased to trade and 1,244 staff have been made redundant.

KPMG partner Mark Orton said: "Unfortunately, the business had been experiencing financial stress for a number of years, so the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties."

Unipart Automotive, previously known as Partco, was sold by Unipart Group in 2011 and was under the control of H2 Equity Partners prior to the collapse.

Unipart Group, which is employee-owned and specialises in logistics and the manufacture of components for the car industry, has an equity stake in Unipart Automotive but exercises no control over the business.

Its chairman and chief executive, Jo hn Neill, said: "We are saddened by the Unipart Automotive situation and, even though we sold control of this business years ago, we are concerned for the future of the employees."

He said the business worked "constructively and collaboratively" with Andrew Page in order to save some of the branches and jobs.

Mr Neill added: "They have a strong reputation for selling high-quality products and brands and we look forward to making available a supply of high-quality Unipart-branded products to Britain's car owners and Unipart Car Care Centres."

Andrew Page, which has 93 branches and more than £170 million in turnover, is a member of The Parts Alliance, a buying and distribution group.

Around 200 members of staff have been retained to assist the administrators.

Mr Orton added: "Our team of employment specialists will be supporting all staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services.

"We will now be reviewing what options are available for the remainder of the business, such as selling leasehold interests."

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