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Metcash, Burson chase WA auto parts

Burson supplies more than 500,000 different car parts from its 114 stores to mechanics and chains. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

by Simon Evans

The 74-year-old owner of the Veale Auto Parts business in Western Australia says he has held talks with three separate companies, including Metcash and Burson Group, about a potential sale of his business, but he’s not sure if he wants to part with it.

Veale Auto Parts runs 16 outlets in Perth and Bunbury and has a long history in WA. Owner Terry Veale says he has been pursued by three different groups at various stages over the past two years as they seek to expand their national coverage in the automotive parts aftermarket segment.

Burson Group, which will list on the Australian Securities Exchange on April 24, is pushing hard to fill a gap in its geographic network and ­currently doesn’t have a presence in Western Australia. The Burson directors, led by new chairman Rob McEniry, a former chief executive of Mitsubishi Motors in ­Australia, held a board meeting on Monday prior to lodging a prospectus for its ASX listing.

Mr Veale didn’t want to reveal the annual revenue of his group on ­Monday, but did say he had been courted by three different groups, including the listed Automotive Holdings Group in the past.

“I’ve had a lot of people have a look,’’ he says. “I’m not sure I’m ready to let go.”

Mr Veale says the business is performing solidly. “We’re going like a house on fire.”

He says he will need to weigh up what is a better option for him, whether to sell for a good price or “have something to get up and do each morning”.

Burson needs a WA automotive parts retail business to fill out its national network. It is currently in talks to buy the 27 Covs retail stores in Western Australia. That business is owned by Automotive Holdings Group, after it bought the operations for $29 million in 2011 from the Coventry Group .


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