TYRE and exhaust chain Kwik-Fit (GB), which is now owned by Itochu Corporation of Japan, tumbled to a £17.2 million operating loss in its last 15-month accounting period to March 31.

This loss is revealed in accounts which have just become available from Companies House, and reflects significant stock write-offs, delapidation charges and exceptional costs. It contrasts with an operating profit of £48.5m in the year to December 31, 2010.

But the directors of Kwik-Fit (GB) point out that, taking into account the extended accounting period, the turnover of the business was down only 2.9% on a like-for-like basis in the 15 months to March 31 in spite of "challenging market conditions and a mild winter season in the UK".

Loading article content

They also highlight heavy investment in Kwik-Fit centres, with capital expenditure of £10.3m in the 15 months to March.

Turnover of Kwik-Fit (GB), which operates from 609 specialist fitting centres and 163 mobile fitting vehicles in the UK and specialises in tyres, exhausts, brakes, suspension, MoT testing and servicing, totalled £639.5m in the 15 months to March 31. Turn-over was £526.9m in 2010.

The average number of employees in the period to March 2012 was 4903. This was up from 4764 in the prior 12 months.

The Kwik-Fit business was bought by Itochu in 2011 from French private equity firm PAI Partners.

Kwik-Fit was founded by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer and was listed on the stock market. It was sold to Ford in 1999, then to CVC, then PAI.