Unitas exits Australian auto company

Unitas has completed a trade sale exit of an Australian automotive parts business to a US-based company for an estimated total of $950 million over two deals.

Unitas Capital has completed its exit of Australian aftermarket distributor of automotive replacement parts Exego Group in an $800 million sale to Genuine Parts, a US-based auto parts company, according to a firm statement.

Genuine Parts originally bought a 30 percent stake in Exego in January of 2012, according to the statement. Media reports estimated the stake was valued at $150 million.

With this most recent deal, Unitas has fully exited Exego. Genuine Parts will own 100 percent of the business.

Unitas originally took Exego private from the Australian stock exchange in 2007. Media reports at the time valued the deal at around A$336 million (€268 million; $349 million), and valued the company at A$570 million. Assuming that Unitas bought a 100 percent stake in the company, this exit would give the firm an estimated 1.6x return. 

Unitas declined to comment on financial details.

John Lewis, chief executive of Unitas, said in the statement: “[Since 2007], John Moller [managing director of Exego] and his team have transformed the store network and achieved strong growth in sales to and market share with both DIY customers and mechanics and doubled EBITDA”.

According to the Unitas website, it no longer has any investments in Australia.

In February, Japan's Asahi Breweries launched legal action in Australia against Unitas and Pacific Equity Partners, alleging it overpaid for Independent Liquor, which it bought from the private equity duo in 2011 for NZ$1.53bn, PEI reported earlier.

Unitas and PEP issued a statement refuting the allegations.