GSF Car Parts sold: Euro Car Parts founder takes top job

Euro Car Parts founder Sukhpal Ahluwalia has been named as the executive chairman of GSF Car Parts following its sale to UK-based private equity firm Epiris.

Ahluwalia, who has also co-invested in GSF as part of the Ahluwalia Family Office, returns to the aftermarket following the sale of ECP to LKQ in 2011 for £225 million. He had taken the firm from a single store in 1978 to 260 branches and annual sales of £1.2 billion.

He is joined by former colleague Steve Horne, who takes the role of chief executive officer.

Ahluwalia said: “This is a hugely exciting time for GSF Car Parts. I have a huge respect for the GSF team, including the business’ hard-working branch team members and head office colleagues. Relationships have always been at the centre of GSF’s success, and that’s something that we’re going to double down on.”

It comes after LKQ Corporation completed the takeover of the parts supplier’s former owner Uni-Select in a deal valued at approximately $2.1 billion (£1.64bn). 

However, the LKQ had always stated its intention to sell the business – which has over 20,000 customer accounts and over 175 company-operated stores – in a bid to reduce company debt, chief financial officer Rick Galloway confirmed.

On the announcement, Horne said: “We will turn the business into a fast-growth, sales-focused company with our customers, suppliers, and team members at its heart.

“This growth plan will deliver opportunities across the industry: new sales channels for our valued global suppliers, and added convenience for our important customers.”

Roles across the firm are also tipped to change as part of a restructure, Horne confirmed; no job losses have been announced.

Steve Horne (left) and Sukhpal Ahluwalia

Chris Hanna, partner at Epiris – who bought the firm as part of its Fund III, said: “GSF serves a large and resilient market. GSF has an established position supplying the myriad products required to maintain [older] vehicles, with an offering built on customer service, product range and availability.”

Alex Fortescue, managing partner at Epiris, said: “This is another classic Epiris deal: a corporate carve-out of a business with a strong position in an attractive, growth market.

“We see the opportunity to grow the business significantly with an acceleration of existing plans coupled with the fresh perspective we are able to bring.”

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  1. As ever, time will tell. I cannot see what these guys offer over and above the other ‘nationals’. All have the same key brands at the same cost, all bring in own brand labels from China.