LKQ ‘positioned for growth after crisis’

LKQ Europe is positioned for continued growth after the coronavirus pandemic, with acquisitions remaining important for the company now, as the situation unfolds, and following the crisis, its chief executive said in a German newspaper report.

“We will of course continue to monitor the market and will also look for external growth opportunities again when the time comes,” Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe, said in an interview published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 9 April. “After the coronavirus crisis, we want to grow over proportionally again. Currently, the integration of the more than 70 European market-leading companies acquired since 2011 remains a priority throughout the current crisis.”

LKQ Europe is by far the largest and only pan-European automotive parts distributor. This market position will be maintained and further expanded with new services, said Franz. In the past three years, LKQ Europe has invested hundreds of millions of euros into two new fully-automated central warehouses in England and the Netherlands, the latter of which will go into operation at the end of 2020.

The acquired companies are benefitting from the high level of investment, as the example of Euro Car Parts in England shows: since the takeover in 2011, the number of employees has tripled, the number of branches has quadrupled, and turnover has increased five-fold.

In the current integration phase, LKQ Europe is investing primarily into a uniform European IT infrastructure and into harmonised standards, for example in purchasing and inventory management. Franz said: “The European integration will enable us to leverage our strengths even better in the interests of our customers.”

Franz also spoke about preparations for, and managing through, the crisis. “We already started to prepare ourselves in January; for example, through higher safety stocks,” he said. “We are able to deliver, even if our suppliers are temporarily unable to produce. Though this is the worst crisis in decades, LKQ Europe’s top priority is to ensure the reliability of its delivery for its customers, as well as the protection of our employees.”

LKQ Europe supplies more than 15,000 German workshops with automotive parts per day. “If we can ensure that hundreds of thousands of vehicles continue to be serviced in Germany’s workshops every day, our economy will come out of this crisis in better shape and we will avoid more accidents, broken-down vehicles and, last but not least, pollutant emissions.

“Therefore, workshops must remain open,” Franz said as he addressed politicians throughout Europe.