Fast-growing Andrew Page snaps up rival to strengthen position in car parts market

Left to right: Mark Saunders (CEO Andrew Page) and Mark Price (MD of Solid Auto)
Left to right: Mark Saunders (CEO Andrew Page) and Mark Price (MD of Solid Auto)
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Andrew Page is set to become Britain’s leading distributor of Japanese and Korean car parts after acquiring a specialist rival.

The fast-growing Leeds headquartered business has bought Solid Auto (UK) for an undisclosed sum as part of its growth strategy in the car parts market.

Solid Auto Halesowen.

Solid Auto Halesowen.

Significantly, the acquisition will also strengthen Andrew Page’s sourcing capability in China and the Far East.

Chairman Jim Sumner said: “Birmingham-based Solid Auto has established a very good reputation as a specialist supplier over the last three decades.”

Japanese and Korean cars make up around 20 per cent of the UK car market. Mr Sumner said: “We are very strong in American, UK and European marques. There is a very good growth opportunity for us in Japanese and Korean car parts.

“We are actively pursuing a differentiation strategy. Our key brands are increasingly differentiated from what competitors are offering and acquiring Solid Auto drives that further.

“Our goal is to be the UK’s leading specialist Japanese and Korean car parts player.”

Mark Price, managing director of Solid Auto, said: “I am confident there will be significant benefits across the group given our expertise in Far East sourcing and detailed understanding of the market. I believe there is a great cultural fit between Andrew Page and Solid Auto.”

Andrew Page, which is owned by Colton Mill Holdings, has also published new annual results showing a 12 per cent increase in turnover to £192m.

In the first full year since its refinancing in 2014, the company reported a doubling of core earnings to £9.6m in the 12 months to September 30 2015.

“We are delighted with the trading performance,” said Mark Saunders, chief executive. “It is the result of a lot of hard work by the whole team at Andrew Page for which I am very grateful.”

Andrew Page invested £15m in the last financial year as it prepares for growth in turnover and profitability.

It has invested nearly £8m in a 500-strong fleet of new vans. These are installed with the latest telemetry systems to dramatically improve the efficiency of distribution operations.

Mr Saunders said: “It’s amazing the message this sends to our market place when they see shiny new vans turning up.”

The company also invested more than £1m in a state-of-the-art telephony system to transform communications across the business, which has 108 sites and 2,300 staff.

It has increased capacity by 40 per cent at its central distribution centre at Markham Vale, off the M1, boosting its ability to constantly refresh its stock and serve the online market and expanding network of retail outlets.

Andrew Page has invested £500,000 in a new online platform retail.andrewpage.com and mobile phone technology to feed changing consumer demand. Finally it added 21 new sites with the acquisition of select assets from Unipart Automotive in July 2014.

Mr Saunders said: “You can see the culmination of these improvements in the results, the first since our refinancing. We have a growth strategy, a wonderful distribution network with overnight capability and we remain very optimistic about the future.”

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