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A-Katsastus Group strengthens its market position in Belgium

New business merger creates a strong operator to the Belgian market

A-Katsastus Oy, one of the largest European vehicle inspection companies, has further expanded its operations in Belgium. Autoveiligheid NV, Belgium’s leading vehicle inspection company and part of A-Katsastus Group since July 2007 has acquired Bureau voor Technische Controle N.V. (BTC) for an undisclosed sum. The company has net sales of EUR 14 million and carried out 400,000 inspections last year. As a result of the acquisition, Finland-originated A-Katsastus Group’s market share in Belgium rises up to 26 %.

Ten vehicle inspection companies operate in Belgium, and the country’s market of about 4.5 million annual inspections are divided between these companies regionally by law. The services of the companies also include driving tests.

The now acquired Bureau voor Technische Controle N.V. (BTC) was founded in 1938 in Flanders (Northern Belgium). BTC’s regional operational area is in and around Antwerp, a major harbor town with the second largest sea port in Europe. BTC’s market share in Belgium is 8.2%. The company has 6 vehicle inspection stations and two driving test offices which carry out 400,000 periodical vehicle inspections and 70,000 driving tests each year. BTC employs 170 persons.

Following the merger, A-Katsastus Group is clearly the largest vehicle inspection company in Belgium with the market share of 26%.  All operations are located in Flanders and the total number of vehicle inspection stations is 16 with 5 driving test offices. A-Katsastus will carry out approximately 1.2 million periodical vehicle inspections and 140 000 driving tests in the country per year.

Commenting on the acquisition, Juha Tukiainen, CEO of A-Katsastus says: “We have started to operate in Belgium in July 2007. The new business merger is a natural continuum and supports our strategy. Both Autoveiligheid and BTC operate in Flanders and have adjoining regional operational areas (by law). As a result of the deal we will be able to give our Belgian customers better service in the future. Furthermore, Antwerp is located in an important logistical junction. We have significantly expanded our international business operations during the last few years and our focus is on continuous growth in Europe”.

Willem Vanbroeckhoven, Country Manager for A-Katsastus in Belgium, has been appointed Managing Director for the new company. Luc Caenen, who owned majority of BTC, will continue as Director, responsible for the driving test offices.

A-Katsastus Group has operations in seven countries. With its almost 65% market share, A-Katsastus is the clear market leader in Finland and the second biggest vehicle inspection company in Denmark and Latvia. The company also has vehicle inspection operations in Estonia, Poland and Russia. The acquisition increases the share of international business in A-Katsastus’ operational volumes i.e. vehicle inspections to 50%. As a result of the acquisition A-Katsastus has 250 vehicle inspections stations, over 2100 employees and it will carry nearly 3 million periodical vehicle inspections per year.

This transaction and A-Katsastus Group's international expansion in general has been closely supported by its largest shareholder, Bridgepoint, who first invested in the business in January 2006.

For additional information, please contact:

Juha Tukiainen, CEO, A-Katsastus Group, Tel. +358 45 632 2006

A-Katsastus Group is one of the leading European vehicle inspection, registration and drivers’ examination companies. Other services include trade-in inspections, quality consultancy, research and training. A-Katsastus has 2 100 employees and 250 inspection stations in seven countries.  Operational area covers Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Russia. Group head office is located in Vantaa, Finland. www.a-katsastus.fi