ITASCA, Ill.-After years of cultivating its franchise operation in North America and overseas, Midas Inc. has embarked on a growth plan that focuses more on company-owned repair outlets.
The company has entered into agreements to acquire 72 franchised Midas Auto Service Experts locations in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2001. Those shops to be acquired include 52 locations in Florida that Itasca-based Midas has purchased from Automotive Service Centers Inc. (ASCI), Midas' second-largest franchisee.
Based in Clearwater, Fla., ASCI operates 24 Midas shops in the Tampa Bay area, with other sites across Florida in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Naples and West Palm Beach. Other shops to be acquired will be identified when the buyouts are completed.
Earlier this year, Midas announced plans to expand its company-operated shop network by acquiring franchised sites. From a base of 10 at the beginning of 2001, Midas has grown its company-owned operation to 36 and, with the additional acquisitions, will have 108 by year's end.
Wendel H. Province, Midas chairman and CEO, said the company shops are ``producing strong results for Midas due to the strategic initiatives introduced in mid-2000 to expand Midas' services, which include climate control and maintenance.'' He added that ``new programs for operations and merchandising implemented in company shops can be developed and enhanced to maximize their benefit throughout the Midas system.''
The Midas system of franchised and company-operated shops, Mr. Province said, ``is well positioned to benefit from an expected increase in inter-city highway travel by North American motorists.''
The company currently operates shops in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It said it plans to fund acquisitions through increased borrowing.
Midas is one of the world's largest providers of automotive service, offering exhaust, brake, steering and suspension services, as well as batteries, climate control and maintenance services. The company has 2,700 franchised, company-owned and licensed Midas shops in 20 countries, including nearly 2,000 in the U.S. and Canada.