Euro Car Parts and LKQ have made their move into continental Europe with the £176 million acquisition of Dutch-based Sator Holding from H2 Equity Partners today.

The move, funded by LKQ, does not include H2’s 50.1% stake in Unipart Automotive, but does include Quinton Hazell Netherlands and other more significant companies.

It is described as ‘a springboard for further acquisitions in Europe’ by Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, Managing Director of LKQ Europe, and is also a bodyblow for Unipart Automotive. Some in the market even think ECP/LKQ’s next move will now be for Unipart Automotive, with suggestions that an announcement could be made on this as soon as next week.

The merger with Sator creates one of the largest aftermarket parts businesses in Europe, said Ahluwalia, with annualised sales in excess of €1 billion. It gives ECP/LKQ a significant and immediate presence in Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France, and a platform for further expansion across the continent.

Ahluwalia said: “This new group has such large purchasing power that it could supply a car part to each of England’s 56 million citizens, each year.

“We intend to use this power and world-sourcing capability to drive down the cost of car parts, to the benefit of Europe’s hard-pressed motorists and fleet operators.”

There has been no statement or information from H2 Equity Partners on the sale of Sator, or what it now plans to do with its 50.1% stake in Unipart Automotive.

Much was made of the potential benefits of Unipart Automotive and Sator working together when H2 took a majority share in the aftermarket business in September 2011. The AP United buying group was created and increased access to Asian car parts through Nipparts highlighted.

Sator’s Chief Executive Officer Adriaan Roggeveen had been Chairman of the AP United buying group and now joins the European LKQ team reporting to Ahluwalia who said: “LKQ Corporation’s formula is to back existing management teams and to help them realise their market potential.

“This transaction will create one of Europe’s largest vehicle parts aftermarket distribution groups.

“Under my leadership, this new partnership between LKQ Corporation, Euro Car Parts and Sator will continue our fast expansion, in existing products and market sectors, but also in some new ones.

“Our goal is also to use this transaction as a springboard for further acquisitions in Europe.”

The purchase of Sator, itself created by the merger of the Van Heck Group and Kroymans Parts Group in 2005, includes a range of companies covering parts, tools, equipment and collision repair.

Besides QH Netherlands, the deal includes: Van Heck & Co, parts distributors in the Netherlands; Harrems, tools and equipment distribution in Benelux; Havam parts distribution in the Netherlands; Hartsant collision repair parts in Benelux and north west Germany; Nipparts specialist parts programme for Asian cars distributed throughout Europe; Van Heck Interpieces parts distribution in Belgium, Luxembourg & Northern France; and Quinton Hazell Netherlands, distribution of QH brand products in the Netherlands.

In all Sator employs more than 800 employees and distributes from 11 warehouses in Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France with combined floor space of 65,000 square metres.

It holds stock of more than €80 million and in 2013 is set to increase on last year’s turnover of €288 million.

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