Aviva sells auto windscreen business

UK-based Insurer Aviva announced 28 November 2008 the sale of its RAC Auto Windscreens business under plans to focus on its core operations.
German restructuring specialist Arques Industries has acqu…

UK-based Insurer Aviva announced 28 November 2008 the sale of its RAC Auto Windscreens business under plans to focus on its core operations. German restructuring specialist Arques Industries has acquired the windscreen repair and replacement specialist for an undisclosed sum. Auto Windscreens is headquartered in Chesterfield and employs 1,800 people, with around 100 fitting centres and 700 mobile units across the UK. Arques said it would look to grow Auto Windscreen“s customer numbers, but also cut fixed costs “significantly” and focus service centres on profitable locations. It said it was too early to comment on areas that may see costs cut. Arques UK manager Christian Daumann said: “We want to bring the business back into profitability, which will be by reducing the cost base, however, not in a way that would sacrifice revenues”. Auto Windscreens makes annual revenues of around GBP 100 million and had gross assets of GBP 40 million as at 30 September 2008. Its customers include individual drivers, as well as insurance companies, leasing and car rental firms and local authorities. Aviva put the business under review earlier in 2008, as well as two other subsidiaries acquired with the RAC business in 2005: the HPI vehicle history checking service and the BSM driving school. It said it was still reviewing plans for HPI and BSM. Igal Mayer, chief executive of Aviva“s UK general insurance arm, said: “This sale is part of our on-going programme to transform our UK general insurance business through an increased focus on our core insurance and vehicle breakdown activities”. He added that the group would retain a long-term contract to supply glass to RAC and Aviva“s UK general insurance business. The deal is expected to complete by the end of 2008. Arques, based in Starnberg, Germany, specialises in acquiring and restructuring companies across a range of sectors. It launched its UK office in summer 2008 and plans to complete further deals on these shores, with the potential for around two more takeovers in 2009.