September 4, 2020 @ 14:05 by Steven Hugill
A North East-headquartered van and car rental firm has expanded after swooping for a stricken repair operator.
Redde Northgate has completed an £11 million deal for some of the businesses and assets of Nationwide Accident Repair Services.
Nationwide – Europe’s largest independent accident repair company – had fallen into administration with the loss of 540 jobs after suffering from the impact of COVID-19.
However, Redde Northgate, which runs its head office out of Darlington, quickly swooped, with bosses revealing the deal has saved around 2300 posts and 77 of Nationwide’s 102-strong bodyshop estate.
Martin Ward, Redde Northgate chief executive, said the agreement – which includes a deferred consideration of up to £5 million, conditional on retention of certain trade business on satisfactory terms – will extend the group’ service, maintenance and repair offering.
He said: “This acquisition significantly increases our strategic and operational capability to support a wider number of business partners requiring automotive repairs.
“We expect this will open up new markets to the group, and in combination with an established pipeline of repair work from existing group companies, such as FMG, it is well placed to maximise future opportunities.
“We welcome Nationwide colleagues who will be joining the group and look forward to creating new value and service offerings for all our stakeholders.”
Stephens, along with PwC, provided restructuring advice to Nationwide, with sole responsibility for running the accelerated merger and acquisition.
A spokesperson said: “Nationwide Accident Repair Services has faced significant trading challenges over the last two years, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.
“The sale to Redde Northgate is a positive outcome for the business, safeguarding over 2000 jobs.”
Redde Northgate bosses coupled the deal announcement with a trading update covering recent weeks.
Highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on operations, officials said the group has seen “sequential monthly improvements in trading” following the easing of lockdown restrictions, meaning “the level of support packages provided to customers has now reduced to a minimal level”.
They added “vehicles on hire have increased in all countries”, with accident and incident volumes also showing signs of improving.
Redde Northgate was officially formed earlier this year following the merger of Northgate with claims management and accident management service provider Redde.
Northgate can trace its roots back to Noble Self Drive in 1981, when Alan Noble set up business from his Darlington home.