Focus Advisors Uses Update on Crash Consolidation – BodyShop Organisation

9August 2020

Focus Advisors, one of the most successful M&A advisory firms in the automobile aftermarket, has offered a mid-year upgrade on the collision repair work market and debt consolidation going on in the marketplace.


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Operations Average shop incomes are down 25 to 30%across the country, although it differs by region and by the strength of regional COVID-19 cases. A lot of shops are slowly returning to greater volumes. The very best news, according to Focus Advisors, is that numerous operators have actually found out how to preserve close-to-normal margins on dramatically reduced earnings. The economic downturn of 2009 taught operators how to both endure and after that enhance operations while under financial pressure. Lessons well learned then are helping the very best operators weather this much more extraordinary downturn, states Focus Advisors.

PPP loans have had an universally positive impact for those operators who were successful in their applications, claims Focus Advisors. The relaxation of repayment terms has actually been a positive development. Most loans are anticipated to be largely forgiven.

An interesting sidenote: anecdotally, the majority of the MSOs and shops that received PPP loans during the very first application duration gotten those loans from little and regional banks and credit unions. Obviously the big banks focused on their biggest clients. During the second application duration, more loans were gotten from some of the huge banks, however lots of MSOs not just didn’t get big bank loans but some never ever even heard back after their questions.


M&A Activity The existing level of mergers and acquisition activity keeps unexpected Focus Advisors. Not remarkably, the top 2 nationwide consolidators continue to make offers and get independent stores and MSOs. But private equity (PE) firms have actually stepped up their interest and investments, according to Focus. Five super local MSOs are likewise in acquisition mode. Add to these numbers numerous lots sub-regional MSOs that are continuing to make acquisitions largely using internal capital sources. Finally, Driven Brands now owns a nine-shop MSO and is pursuing more acquisitions.

Private Equity Interest Driving Activity

Market purchasers have changed drastically in 5 years, states Focus Advisors. 5 years back, the most active purchasers consisted of the 4 big consolidators: ABRA, Caliber, Service King and Gerber. Plus, 7 regional MSOs: Pacific Elite, Kadels, Cooks, Craftsman, Joe Hudson, Classic Crash and Automobile Care and one PE company, Carousel Capital, which owned Driven Brands.

In the years because, almost all of those firms have actually vanished into bigger companies:

  • ABRA purchased Cooks Accident, then offered to Quality
  • ABRA purchased Kadels
  • Pacific Elite got bought by PE-backed Crash Champions
  • Cars and truck Care got purchased by Service King
  • Joe Hudson got purchased by TSG Customer personal equity
  • Carousel owned Driven Brands, which it subsequently offered to Roark Capital
  • Traditional Accident was gotten by New Mountain Capital

Focus Advisors attributes the activity and the values to the variety of new entrants into the collision space, mostly personal equity firms– the highest seen in 20 years. New PE entrants have come gathering back to the marketplace looking for opportunities that will gain from increasing consolidation. The majority of see the stability and non-cyclical nature of collision repair work as efficient money generators with modest threat, Focus states. Some are aiming to buy and after that offer out to somebody bigger. And some are probably seeking to coattail Quality and Driven, if and when they have IPOs, states Focus.


PE companies can be found in lots of sizes and ranges. The new participants vary from $350 million in assets to more than$ 16 billion. Some are unskilled in the industry however are distressed to find out. Some have actually employed CEOs who are highly knowledgeable executives. Others have currently discovered their platforms and are strongly broadening. 10 are still searching for their very first platform. All of them are searching for high-quality big MSOs in significant metro areas.

Offer Terms and Structures Today

Five years ago, structures included a variety of money, stock, debt and earnouts, with the majority of deals being provided for money, specifies Focus. Some deals were done as stock purchases, although a lot of were asset purchases. Multiples varied from 5 to 9x reconstructed EBITDA, with some outliers for large MSOs.

Progressively, deals are being determined on purchase price to profits, with smaller stores in the 35 to 45% and medium-size MSOs in the 65 to 90% of revenues depending upon the tactical fit, EBITDA levels and ongoing management groups.

Today, Focus Advisors is seeing the exact same variety of factor to consider, with the majority of all deals still being done as asset purchases. Throughout this time of COVID-19, many are structured with both money and earnouts with efficiency hurdles– some EBITDA-based and some revenue-based. Some are structured to share the risk in between the sellers and the buyers. Multiples are trending lower for plain vanilla acquisitions however remain robust for quality platforms. OE accreditations are driving increases in worths– particularly high-end brands.


National Consolidators Keep Purchasing Assisted by an additional capital raise in the 2nd quarter, Gerber has actually gotten more than 2 dozen stores up until now in 2020, including nine in Southern California as it gets in the biggest U.S. market for the very first time. Quality Collision added more debt capital and continues its development even as its revenues have actually slowed. In late July, it acquired among the premier MSOs in the southeast when it closed on Professional Accident of Mobile, Ala.

. Multi-Regional MSOs Proliferating

Illinois-based Crash Champions led by Matt Ebert reached from Chicago throughout to Southern California to acquire 14-shop MSO Pacific Elite early this year, using both equity and financial obligation capital. In February, Crash added three stores in Ohio and is on the hunt for more, according to Focus.

Former ABRA senior executives, with the support of a highly credible sponsor, New Mountain Capital, are releasing countless new equity capital following their takeover of Classic Accident in Atlanta in 2015. Led by CEO Toan Nguyen, Classic expects to challenge Joe Hudson’s position as the 4th biggest operator in the U.S. Classic now has 8 of its 37 places in South Florida, consisting of the acquisition of the previous Carolina Vehicle Body.


Joe Hudson’s continues to intensify its management ranks and think about additional acquisitions throughout its Sunbelt markets. Texas-based ProCare acquired six-shop Houston operator Hodges Collision to bring its overall to 41 stores.

Regional MSOs Preparing for Growth

Chilton Auto Body, a 12 shop MSO in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently worked with Chris Abraham, previous CEO of Service King, and a group of acquisition specialists with expectations of growing significantly. Oklahoma based Accident Functions added 8 shops with a big acquisition in 2015 and now runs 33 locations in Oklahoma and Kansas. The Collision Works group is sized to add more capital and acquisitions.

Franchise and Affiliation Opportunities Speed Up

Franchisors and banner networks are finding increasing success as operators look for multiple ways to increase collaborations and incomes.

Driven Brands portfolio of franchisors– CARSTAR, ABRA, MAACO and REPAIR U.S.A.– is continuing to add franchisees as well as broaden its portfolio of other vehicle industry individuals. Driven’s April acquisition of FIX U.S.A. and its largest franchisee, Auto Center Automobile Body, strengthened its hold on most of the “waterfront” franchise opportunities.

2 banner groups, CCG and 1 Accident, are growing as well. 1 Collision, which has actually now combined with Canada-based CSN, is anticipating to rapidly add brand-new affiliates to its present U.S. network of 50 stores. Together, the combined business have more than 280 shops.


California-based Licensed Collision Group now claims more than 450 stores with $ 2 billion in gross incomes across the U.S. With a few of the country’s biggest independent MSOs in the fold, CCG is focused on assisting them get extra DRP and supplier relationships.

Focus Advisors’ Expectations

Focus Advisors’ best estimate is that 2020 will end with incomes annualizing at 80% of 2019 earnings. A sensible expectation for 2021 is that store earnings will go back to 2019 profits. Miles driven will continue to be negatively impacted by a slowly returning economy however positively impacted by individuals’ determination and need to travel more firmly without direct exposure to possible infections. With a lot more holiday and company trips being taken, miles driven need to be positively impacted.

The Federal Reserve has actually been warning that damage to the whole economy is profound, deep and expected to effect everybody for years ahead. So, while Focus Advisors is inclined to be positive, they think care is more reasonable. When there is a widely readily available and distributed COVID-19 vaccine, earnings will speed up quickly as confidence in normal financial activity returns and overall economic development begins to accelerate.

What is the net result for the collision repair work industry? Ongoing uncertainty but not widespread catastrophe, says Focus.

Should I Sell Now?

One of the most common concerns Focus Advisors gets every day is, “Should I sell now or should I wait two years till the economy and my earnings enhance?”


For some folks, their age and their lack of a follower dictates that they offer now. Others who have a succession plan– or even much better, a development plan– have the very best of both worlds. Acquirers are still looking favorably on targets today. In two years, they may be less aggressive due to the fact that they will have already bought their crucial platforms and may just looking for smaller fold-in acquisitions. For sub-regionals determined to become very regionals, accessing capital today is likely to be simpler than in two years due to the fact that of strong PE interest, states Focus.

Worths are always reduced when there are lots of sellers and a minimal number of purchasers. If everyone is heading for the exits at the very same time, there is a danger some offers just will not get done which acquirers will utilize that opportunity to lower assessments. Everything else being equivalent, savvy sellers prefer to enter into the marketplace when there are more buyers and less sellers.

For numerous owners, it’s a balancing act between the development they expect in the years ahead versus the opportunity to sell when there are multiple buyers ready to make them reasonable offers.

With trillions and trillions of dollars being invested by the federal government to prevent the collapse of the economy, there will come a time– earlier rather than later on– where taxes will increase to begin minimizing the debt. Our expectation is that capital gains taxes are most likely to increase first. Closing a transaction in 2020 may prevent a considerably greater tax hit in 2021.


What Kind of Deal Structure is Possible Today?

Another concern Focus Advisors gets is, “What type of deal structure is possible today?”

Acquisition offers are most likely to be structured in a different way than in the past. We anticipate less cash up front and more made out by achieving efficiency hurdles over time. Sellers might likewise be asked to fund part of the acquisition cost. On the plus side, a number of the personal equity financiers are creating lorries in which sellers can roll over a part of their sale continues into equity ownership positions.

Will New Investors Close on Offers They’ve Extended?

Yet another concern Focus Advisors gets is, “What kind of offer structure is possible today?”

The majority of professional buyers that issue Letters of Intent have an established performance history of honoring their purchase dedications. Even in the time of COVID-19, deals worked out prior to the pandemic hit were largely satisfied, although some had structural and difficulty requirements added.Inexperienced or first-time buyers might have a more difficult time holding the rates of their deals as their PE sponsors have fewer transactions under their belts. And if there is a long-term recession of amazing depth, that would be a material modification that would affect valuations and closings. Source:

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