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Repco sold for $800m

Sold: Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company has acquired the remaining 70 per cent stake in Australia and New Zealand-based Exego Group.

Car parts retail giant scooped up in US-led buyout

General News logo12 Mar 2013

RETAIL car parts chain Repco has a new owner after a remaining 70 per cent stake in the group was sold to a publicly listed US company overnight.

Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company announced today that it will pay $US800 million ($A779m) to take over the privately held Exego Group, which trades under brand names including Repco Australia, Repco New Zealand, car electrical and thermal products importer Ashdown-Ingram, motorcycle apparel retailer McLeod Accessories and specialist importer Motospecs.

The move comes little more than a year after GPC paid $US150 million to snare a 30 per cent stake in the Melbourne-based company, which last year posted revenue of about $1.1 billion.

At the time, GPC chief executive Thomas Gallagher said the stake in Exego would allow the US-based company to expand into Australasia and Asia.

“I am very pleased to announce our partnership which will continue to provide long-term stability for all of the Exego Group businesses and our valued customers,” Mr Gallagher said today announcing the acquisition.

“As partners, we are committed to a long-term investment and the ability to lead the industry with technology, range, products, systems and services.

“We are proud to align ourselves with a company that has a leading market position and a long and successful history in the automotive business.”

Exego spokesman Cary Laverty said the group’s 4000 employees spread across 430 retail locations in Australia and New Zealand would notice no differences despite the change in ownership.

“There’s no proposal to change at the top level – (Exego Group managing director) John Moller’s role will stay in the organisation and the senior management team will stay in place,” Mr Laverty said.

“It’s business as usual, so the Exego business units will continue to operate as autonomous units across Australasia.

“We’ve already got a couple of directors from GPC as part of a board structure that includes directors from GPC, and we will continue to have a board structure that involves representatives from GPC and our senior management team.” Repco was founded in Australia 1922 as an automotive grinding business, moving into the replacement parts market in 1926.

The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2003, and in 2006 was delisted after it was acquired by private equity group CCMP Capital Asia, now known as Unitas Capital.

It was rebranded as the Exego Group in 2009.

The move leaves Repco’s long-standing competitor, Burson Auto Parts, as the only major spare parts competitor to remain in private hands.

Burson was sold to private equity firm Quadrant for $148 million at about the same time as GPG took its 30 per cent stake in Exego.

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