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The company has filed an intention to appoint KPMG as administrators, but its owners are hopeful of reaching a deal for a takeover of the business from one of three shortlisted bidders in the next 24-48 hours.
Two of the potential bidders are Better Capital, an investment fund run by Jon Moulton, and Euro Car Parts, a larger rival, two people with knowledge of the talks told the Financial Times.
Mark Dixon, chief executive of Unipart Automotive, said, ‘I can confirm that Unipart Automotive Limited is currently in detailed discussions with three parties in respect of the sale of the business. We are very hopeful of concluding this transaction in the next 36 hours.
‘A notice of intention to appoint administrators has been filed, but merely with the intention of protecting Unipart Automotive while we complete this sale process.’
While UK car sales are growing strongly, the after-market sector has not kept pace due to fierce competition and a shortage of financing.
Unipart, which distributes car parts in the UK, completed a refinancing in May with a capital injection from existing shareholders, but was forced to file its intention to appoint KPMG after a period of poor trading.