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Uni-Select buys U.S. auto parts distributor

- Uni-Select Inc. , a major Canadian distributor of auto parts, has struck a deal to buy Consumer Auto Parts Inc., a U.S. automotive replacement parts distributor and operator of 23 outlets and one distribution centre in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The price tag for the deal, announced early Tuesday, was not disclosed.

The sale is expected to be completed Aug. 31, subject to closing conditions.

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The acquired business has annual sales of $41-million (U.S.), about 40 per cent to consumers, and will become part of the North-East division of Uni-Select's Automotive Group USA.

"The Consumer Auto Parts business model, with its balanced mix of retail and wholesale, will add a powerful tool to our arsenal " said Jacques Landreville, president and chief executive of Uni-Select.

Merrill Cohen, president of Consumer Auto Parts, said the deal "will allow us to more effectively compete and grow in our extremely challenging but opportunistic industry."

"In Uni-Select, we have found the right partner as their culture, values and business model, including support of the independent Jobber, coincide so closely with ours."

Uni-Select is Canada's second largest distributor of automotive replacement parts, equipment and the eighth largest in the United States. Subsidiary Palmar Inc. sells replacement parts, tools and accessories for heavy-duty vehicles and wheels in Canada.

In early trading Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Uni-Select shares were unchanged at $30.47.

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