They're Back! Belron to Buy Elite Auto Glass/Glaspro Inc.

by Debra Levy

Belron, the largest auto glass retailer in the world, heralded its return to the United States market today by announcing that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase Elite Auto Glass, the Colorado-based auto glass retailer with 31 locations in 7 states. The deal is expected to close next month.

Wes Topping, president of Elite Auto Glass, is an extremely active industry member. In addition to running Elite, he is a founder of the Chicago Auto Glass Group, a not-for-profit group that has been attempting to provide an alternative to NAGS pricing. It is not yet known if he will continue his work with that group. Topping is also a former chairperson of the National Glass Association. Elite is also an AGRSS-registered company.

"I can't talk about much more at this point because the deal isn't completed and we are limited in what we can say until it is done." said Belron CEO Gary Lubner in an exclusive interview with AGRR magazine today. Elite's minority shareholders were alerted to the news at the close of business today as well.

This is the second regional chain to be sold in as many months. JC's Glass of Phoenix was recently sold and rumors of the sales of other regional companies abound. "This is a tough time to be a mid-sized company," said one industry expert who preferred not to be identified. " There are no margins left and overhead is high. Elite is generally considered to be one of the best run regionals in the country."

More news, including industry reaction, Monday.

Text of the Belron Announcement

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