Midday Roundup: Metcash buys automotive business for $84 million

Metcash has acquired the assets and operations of Australian Truck and Auto Parts Group for $84 million, as part of its expansion into the hardware and automotive sectors.

The acquisition, announced this morning, was a “synergistic and strategic” move as it tries to strengthen its “national footprint” in the automotive industry. Metcash’s equity share in the automotive parts distribution business has now increased from 75% to 83%.

Metcash chief executive Andrew Reitzer said in a statement the automotive area of the business was “already adding value”.

“The acquisition by AAD is part of our clear plan to grow this business and will enable Metcash to use its core strengths in warehousing, logistics and marketing, to service a significant number of independents nationally,” he says.

The acquisition also includes the Auto Brake Service, a national franchise network of 53 brake, steering and auto repairs specialists.

Australian dollar hits 11-month low

The Australian dollar continues to fall, reaching an 11-month low in the early hours of this morning, spurred by a strengthening optimism in the United States economy.

The Australian dollar dropped to 97.97 US cents this morning, the lowest level since June 2012.

At 7am this morning the dollar had rebounded slightly to 98.09 US cents, and it continues to trade around the 98 cent mark.

Shares post small gains

The Australian share market has been buoyed slightly higher this morning, thanks to gains by the miners and the big four banks.

The S&P/ASX200 was up 14.7 points to 5180.4, just after midday.

The materials sector was up 95.2 points, but the energy sector had the biggest gains, leaping 186.7 points to 13,411.6.

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