Belfast Telegraph

Japanese firm Sumitomo buys Micheldever Tyre Services for £215m

Britain's second biggest tyre maker has been snapped up by Sumitomo Rubber Industries for £215 million, the latest in a series of post-Brexit takeovers by Japanese firms.

Micheldever Tyre Services, based in Hampshire, was sold by private equity firm Graphite Capital, meaning the country's two largest tyre distributors now belong to Japanese companies, following Itochu's acquisition of Kwik-Fit in 2011.

Since Graphite's initial investment in 2006, Micheldever's turnover has grown from £150 million to over £320 million and its workforce has increased from 500 to 1,600.

The firm supplies around six million tyres a year to more than 6,000 retailers and direct to motorists.

Micheldever's chief executive Duncan Wilkes said: "Graphite has been a highly supportive owner of MTS and helped us drive the expansion of the business.

"SRI is fully committed to the UK market and to supporting our proven approach to growing the business. Today's transaction ensures continuity of both management and of our successful multi-brand, multi-segment strategy."

The most high-profile Japanese takeovers of British firms include SoftBank's £24 billion acquisition of smartphone chip maker ARM Holdings last year, and Sumitomo itself struck a deal to buy Dunlop from Sports Direct for £112 million last week.

Japanese companies spent over £27 billion on 43 British firms in 2016, up from £7.6 billion for 29 the previous year, according to figures from Dealogic.