ABRA Auto Body Buys 23 Repair Shops, CEO Eyes More Growth

Brooklyn Center-based ABRA Auto Body & Glass, which has been on a growth streak in recent years, last week purchased 23 Precision Collision Auto Body repair centers in the state of Washington—a move that represents its largest acquisition to date and one that marks its entry into the northwest region of the United States.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The company now operates 173 repair centers in 17 states, 124 of which are company-owned and 49 of which are franchises; 32 of its locations are in Minnesota.
Eighteen of the just-acquired repair centers are located in the Seattle metro area. The remaining five are in the cities of Burlington, Mount Vernon, Wenatchee, Kennewick, and Spokane.
“This is a game-changing acquisition for us,” ABRA President and CEO Duane Rouse said in a statement. Rouse told Twin Cities Business on Monday that prior to the acquisition, the company had only gone as far west as Salt Lake City.
“For us, it’s another new region,” he said, adding that the company now operates in the northwest, Midwest, southeast, and southwest regions of the United States.
Since November 2011, when New York-based private investment firm Palladium Equity Partners, LLC, recapitalized ABRA through a deal with undisclosed terms, it has been on somewhat of an acquisition spree: ABRA added 27 new locations to its portfolio in 2012 and 38 so far this year, some through acquisitions and others by opening new franchised locations.
Rouse said Monday that acquisitions were “part of the deal” with Palladium and that the firm is looking for a return on its investment and saw acquisitions as a way to make that happen.
“Our strategy is just really to get into new markets,” Rouse said. “Our goal is to be number one in revenue in each market we go into.”
The Seattle acquisition immediately positioned ABRA as the leading revenue generator among collision repair centers in that area, according to Rouse. He added that of the 10 major markets where ABRA has a presence, the only one in which ABRA isn’t yet the leading revenue generator is southern Illinois, and that’s because the company just entered that area in December, when it purchased three locations there.
What’s next for ABRA? “We probably have maybe 10 cities that we’ll target over the next three years,” Rouse said. He added that the company wants to continue to build its presence in the Midwest and said that Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois are among the states that ABRA is eyeing.
ABRA, founded in 1984, specializes in collision repair, paintless dent removal, and auto glass repair and replacement. Its 2012 revenue totaled $348 million, $264 million for the company-owned locations. That’s up from $250 million in 2009, of which $203 million was for the company-owned locations.
Rouse said that if ABRA didn’t acquire any additional companies or open any more franchises this year, its revenue would total roughly $380 million, or $276 million for company-owned locations.
ABRA employs 2,208, including 412 in Minnesota.