Graphite backs UK tyre BIMBO

The London-based private equity house has bought Micheldever Tyre Services from its founder, Tony Todd.

UK mid-market private equity investor Graphite Capital has completed the buy-in/management buyout of tyre wholesaler and distributor Micheldever Tyre Services.
 
Markus Golser, a partner at London-based Graphite Capital, declined to comment on the purchase price but said reports in the media of £150 million (€220.5 million; $262 million) were grossly exaggerated. Debt for the deal was provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
 

[Micheldever] have close to national coverage currently, but we will be looking to expand that, especially in the north of England and Scotland.

Markus Golser, partner, Graphite Capital

Graphite has acquired a 72 percent stake in Micheldever, with the incoming management team, led by new CEO Paul Fox and new finance director Richard Sawney, owning the remaining shares. The incoming chairman of the business is Michael Boxford, who has chaired other Graphite investments, including stationery retailer Paperchase and specialist door manufacturer LS Group.
 
Golser said Graphite had made the investment through Graphite Capital Partners VI, a £375 million vehicle that closed in April 2003. The fund is now around 50 percent invested, Golser added.
 
Graphite said in a release that the UK tyre market was valued at £1.3 billion in 2004, with annual growth of more than 4 percent. “We believe that the tyre industry in general is very attractive and has long-term stability,” Golser told PEO. “The demand for tyres continues to grow, and Micheldever has a strong place in that market with a good share of the wholesale distribution business. They have close to national coverage currently, but we will be looking to expand that, especially in the north of England and Scotland.”
 
Graphite acquired the business from Tony Todd, who founded it in 1972 in Hampshire, England. The company supplies around four million tyres each year to over 2,500 customers through a national network of wholesale distribution centres. According to Graphite, Micheldever generated sales in excess of £150 million in 2005.