Belron, the Belgium-based multinational behind the country's biggest auto glass repair company, Smith&Smith, has agreed to buy the assets and operations of Laser Group - Australasia's biggest plumbing and electrical services franchise - for an undisclosed sum.
The international vehicle glass repair and replacement group, which is part of Belgium-listed D'Leteren, said it had made the acquisition through its subsidiaries O'Brien in Australia and Smith&Smith in New Zealand. The deal is subject to finalisation of a due diligence book checking exercise.
Laser Group, through its members, provides plumbing and electrical services to both business-to-customer and business-to-business customers throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Laser's network has coverage across both countries with more than 239 franchise members, employing about 2500 people and dealing with 320,000 customer problems a year.
Belron said the acquisition would not have any impact on the companies' employment or business relationships.
Belron said the two businesses would continue to be run on the existing basis, and the terms and conditions of membership agreements would remain unchanged.
Belron is clearly on the acquisition trail for companies like Laser.
In October, Belron announced the acquisition of 80 per cent of the shares of Maisoning Group, a French company that provides home repair services.
The company said the acquisition of Laser was "fully aligned to Belron's service extension strategy".
Smith&Smith managing director Wayne Carter said Laser Group was a good cultural fit, adding the company had been looking for opportunities to expand its footprint in the broader property services market.
"Our focus on customer service and marketing, and our ability to build deep relationships with business customers, would be of great benefit to both parts of the expanded business," Carter said.
"We know there is a strong opportunity for Laser to grow and prosper and we are looking forward to working together," he said.
Scott Carr, general manager of Laser Group in New Zealand, said the acquisition would create a "formidable" partnership in the New Zealand markets.
"It would combine our culture and trade expertise with the experience that Smith&Smith has in building a high value consumer brand and strong value propositions for its partners," he said.
Laser has a network of more than 250 plumbing and electrical companies throughout New Zealand and Australia.
Laser Electrical was founded in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1983. In 1999 the owners re-developed the business model and launched a franchise system that would create value for like-minded electrical businesses. This steadily expanded throughout New Zealand and in 2004 they moved internationally into Australia.
After seeing the synergies between electrical and plumbing, it continued with the creation of Laser Plumbing in 2006.
Belron is a big player in vehicle glass repair and replacement, trading under more than 10 major brands. The company also manages vehicle glass and other insurance claims on behalf of insurance customers.
In 2016, Belron's revenue came to €3.3 billion ($5.4b), and the company has 26,000 employees and operations in 34 countries.
Smith&Smith has a nationwide network of 34 corporate owned locations and 33 authorised dealers.