A-Katsastus Oy, the Finnish vehicle inspection group, has acquired Belgium’s leading vehicle inspection company Autoveiligheid NV for an undisclosed sum. The company had net sales of nearly EUR 30 million last year and carried out over 800,000 inspections. As a result of the acquisition, A-Katsastus Group significantly expands its international business operations, with Group annual net sales increasing to over EUR 150 million.
Ten vehicle inspection companies operate in Belgium, and the country’s market of about 3.5 million annual inspections are divided between these companies regionally by law. The services of the companies also include driving tests. Belgium has a population of about 10.4 million, with slightly fewer than five million cars. The average age of cars is a bit less than eight years. Altogether, Belgium has 76 vehicle inspection stations and 32 driving test offices.
Autoveiligheid is the largest of the ten vehicle inspection companies operating in Belgium, with a market share of almost 20%. The company has 10 vehicle inspection stations and three driving test offices which carry out 800,000 periodical vehicle inspections and 60,000 driving tests each year. The stations and offices of the company are located in Flanders (north-east Belgium), near the Dutch border. Autoveiligheid has about 350 employees.
Commenting on the acquisition, Juha Tukiainen, Managing Director of A-Katsastus, said: “Our extensive experience in customer service and process development will prove very useful as we focus long-term on improving the services of Autoveiligheid. Continuity is also important to us. Autoveiligheid has highly competent management who will continue their work in developing the company, taking advantage of the expertise and experience of A-Katsastus. Belgium is an interesting market in the heart of Europe and expansion outside northern Europe strongly supports our growth strategy.”
Autoveiligheid was founded in Antwerp in 1941. Since 1983 the family company’s managing director and owner has been Willem Vanbroeckhoven, who started to work at the company in 1972. Autoveiligheid has developed its operations rapidly during his tenure and in addition to its size the company can be considered to be Belgium’s leading vehicle inspection company in many other respects. Willem Vanbroeckhoven will continue as the managing director of Autoveiligheid following the acquisition, and as A‑Katsastus’s country director in Belgium. Willem Vanbroeckhoven is also the chairman of the CIECA, the international commission for driver testing.
With its 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 Poland and Russia and vehicle related testing activities in Estonia. The acquisition increases the share of international business in A-Katsastus’ operations to nearly 30% and signifies the final breakthrough of Finnish vehicle inspection operations on the global market. Following the deal, A-Katsastus will carry out about 2.4 million periodical vehicle inspections per year and joins the ranks of the ten largest private European vehicle inspection companies. The Group has over 230 vehicle inspection stations and nearly 1,900 employees.
This transaction and A-Katsastus Group's international expansion in general has been closely supported by its largest shareholder, Bridgepoint Capital, who first invested in the business in January 2006.
For additional information, please contact:
Juha Tukiainen, CEO, A-Katsastus Oy, Tel. +358 45 632 2006