Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boyd's U.S. fingerprint grows

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The Body Group has expanded its presence in the U.S. with a major acquisition of 14 collision repair locations in northern Florida.

The $19.5-million deal will give the Winnipeg-based collision repair operation a total of 37 locations in Florida and bolsters its claim as the largest operator of collision repair centres in North America.

It is effectively acquiring three different companies under the trade names Autocrafters Collision Repair, Walker Collision Repair and S&L Auto Glass, which collectively operate as Autocrafters.

The shops are located in the Jacksonville area of north Florida, with extended operations in Tallahassee and Gainesville.

It's Boyd's fourth multi-location acquisition this year, and the third in Florida. At the end of last year, Boyd did not have any shops in Florida.

"These acquisitions build a strong presence in Florida, a market we consider attractive, and provides us with additional growth opportunities," said Boyd Group Income Fund CEO Brock Bulbuck in a prepared statement. "Autocrafters has a similar customer base and business model to Boyd's, which should facilitate integration. This transaction demonstrates our commitment to our stated growth strategy and to solidifying our industry-leading position while continuing to look for attractive growth opportunities."

The new Florida properties generated revenue of US$32.6 million last year.

In conjunction with the deal, Boyd has agreed with a group of underwriters to raise $30 million in a convertible debenture offering at 5.75 per cent interest with a conversion price of $23.40 by the end of 2017.

The company also announced on Thursday that Bulbuck and Tim O'Day, the president and chief operating officer of the Boyd Group's U.S. operations, will sell up to 191,900 units held by them.

Sixty-three per cent of them will be sold in "off-market" transactions to existing Boyd trustees and senior managers at a price equal to a five per cent discount to the 10-day volume weighted average price of the units ending Nov. 28 so as to broaden and deepen management and insider ownership in Boyd.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 30, 2012 B15

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