Rumours abound over sale of Kwik Fit to Japanese company
Press speculation has linked Marubeni with a £650 million purchase of the tyre company.
Marubeni is the European distributor of Yokohama tyres and is also one of the largest dealers for Toyota and Mazda in Europe.
The Japanese link was reported in The Sunday Times at the weekend, which stated that the firm's interest had emerged after Kwik Fit's owners, French private equity group PAI Partners, instructed Credit Suisse to lead a sale. PAI paid £800 million for Kwik Fit in 2005.
News of the possible sale comes after PAI sold Kwik Fit's insurance arm to Belgian insurer Ageas for £215 million in July.
According to The Sunday Times, other potential bidders are thought to be Bridgestone and Michelin, which owns ATS Euromaster.
The report also said that Kwik-Fit's underlying profits fell 1.5% to £98.4 million last year as 'higher costs squeezed margins on its fixed-price fleet contracts'.