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Old 07-01-2002, 08:51   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
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Ford's Kwik-Fit May Fetch Only 150 Mln Pounds, Times Reports

By Christine Harper

London, June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. may be forced to sell its Kwik-Fit car-repair unit for as little as 150 million pounds ($230 million) because potential buyers are having difficulty raising funds from banks, The Sunday Times reported, citing an unidentified person close to the sale.

All three bidders for the unit, CVC Capital Partners, Apax Partners and Permira, are private-equity firms that rely on banks to lend them money for the bid, the paper said. A group of banks working with one bidder has offered only 100 million pounds, the paper said. One large bank has threatened not to participate at all, the paper said.

Ford initially hoped to sell the business for 800 million pounds, the paper said. The price fell because of a decline in the car-repair market, the paper said. The banks have recently become more reluctant to lend to bidders after the Financial Times reported last week that Kwik-Fit auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found a 3.4 million pound discrepancy in the company's books.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford bought Kwik-Fit for $1.6 billion in 1999 as part of former Chief Executive Officer Jacques Nasser's plan to expand beyond automaking. The automaker put Kwik- Fit up for sale in February as part of a plan to sell assets to raise $1 billion, after Ford had a $5.45 billion loss in 2001.

(The Sunday Times, 6-30, Business, Page 3) ({SNDY } to see the Sunday Times Web site)
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