ANOVO targets acquisitions in wake of £21m purchase

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Cash injection from private equity group paves way for growth over next 12 months

Repair and logistics company ANOVO says it is drawing up an acquisition strategy after private equity firm Butler Capital Partners (BCP) invested £21.4 million in acquiring it this month.

The French company has operations in 24 locations in Europe and South America, including Norwich, Enfield and Manchester in the UK.

It has direct UK agreements for repairs with manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, RIM and LG, as well as retailers Carphone Warehouse, Tesco, Phones 4U, O2 and Asda.

ANOVO UK CEO Kevin Coleman (pictured) said the investment makes it the best-financed repairs business in the industry.

In July, the French arm of the company was placed in administration while investment was sought.

Shares in the business were suspended, and this still remained the case at the time of going to press.

Coleman said BCP’s backing gave ANOVO the power to acquire other companies whose skill sets would help benefit its own.

However, he said it was too early to discuss potential targets.

Fifteen interested parties, including rival firms Regenersis and French-based SBE, showed interest during the bidding process, Coleman claims.

He said: “Margins are not traditionally high in the repairs sector. This allows investments to be made, which is difficult for a repairs company.

“It makes it difficult to make large steps forward in your strategy that might require new sites, products and people. This investment breaks down all those barriers.

“BCP is looking at other acquisitions in this market. This presents opportunities we didn’t have before and allows us to select targets that are a good fit for the business, either giving us a wider geographical spread or offering us consolidation in our biggest markets.

“The balance sheet of ANOVO is now market-leading. The company is debt-free and asset rich – more so than most of our competitors in the sector. Our customers can now be confident they are selecting the most financially robust player in the market.

“They are also selecting a partner that has the capability to develop service and logistics propositions in partnership with them and, importantly, fund their execution.

“The next year will almost exclusively be about growth. We’re also looking at partnerships with retailers and logistics companies where we can bring ANOVO’s skills and capabilities to the right point in the supply chain.”

Job losses

Coleman told Mobile News no UK jobs are at risk, but he expects around 350 redundancies in France over the coming months.

BCP is attempting to save the remaining 758 roles in France and has also taken on all six of ANOVO’s factories there.

BCP is run by French entrepreneur Walter Butler. It owns nine companies totalling around £1.7 billion in revenue, including Virgin Megastores in France.

Coleman added: “The UK business has remained consistent in its service delivery to its customers and in its financial robustness. ANOVO’s subsidiaries are separate legal entities, meaning that because the problem stemmed from France, daily operations haven’t been affected in the UK.

“Unlike practically all other bidders, BCP’s position regarding jobs saved in France was only partly the reason for selection. Its plans for the future growth of the group placed BCP significantly ahead of other bidders in every respect.”

Huawei and ZTE sign up to end user repair deals

ANOVO has signed contracts with both Huawei and ZTE to manage both companies’ mobile phone end user repairs in the UK.

The contracts add to the UK repair deals ANOVO has with Nokia, Samsung, RIM, Sony Ericsson, LG, Sonim, Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U, Tesco Mobile, Asda, Everything Everywhere and O2. The wins are not exclusive to ANOVO.

ANOVO UK chief commercial officer Stephen Maxwell said: “This is great for us because both are emerging as major players and have many exciting products coming to market.

“These contracts involve the whole repair and service piece around mobile, but there are also other areas of expertise we’re discussing with these two companies.”

ANOVO has also renewed its UK repair contract with Samsung for an undisclosed period. The new deal also covers the repair of the manufacturer’s tablet devices.

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