Not just any part will do for LKQ. The company specifically distributes replacement parts and components needed to repair passenger cars and trucks. It's one of the leading aftermarket parts suppliers in the US through subsidiary Keystone Automotive (acquired in 2007). LKQ also offers reconditioned, remanufactured, and refurbished parts, including wheels, bumpers, mirrors, and engines, as well as recycled parts that are reclaimed from salvage vehicles. Customers include collision repair and mechanical repair shops. Additionally, LKQ operates self-service retail yards that allow customers to come in, search through, and buy recycled auto parts. To diversify, LKQ is expanding beyond the US.
LKQ generates 90% of its sales in the US. The firm's newest market, the UK, accounts for about 4% of total sales, with the remainder coming from other countries (Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica). The company's operations in Mexico include an engine manufacturer and a bumper refurbishing business. LKQ sources most of its aftermarket inventory from auto parts manufacturers and distributors in the U.S., Taiwan, Europe and China.
LKQ operates through four business segments: Wholesale - North America; Wholesale - Europe; Self Service; and Heavy-Duty Truck. Aftermarket parts account for about half of LKQ's total revenues. Recycled parts and services, which include vehicle disposal and tire recycling, generate about one-third of sales. The firm's self-service retail operation consists of more than 30 auto parts yards in the US and Canada where customers can pay an admission fee to find parts for their vehicles on more than 1,000 American and imported cars and light trucks. LKQ's yards also try to play an environmental role by buying unwanted vehicles and recycling and disposing of all fluids and materials. The heavy truck division consists of a dozen locations in North America that sell used trucks and new, used, and remanufactured heavy truck parts.
The company's sales increased by nearly 33% in 2011 vs. 2010 to about $3.3 billion. Net income increased by more than 24% over the same period. The surge in sales was driven primarily by the purchase of Euro Car Parts in the UK, the higher volume of products sold, and increased scrap metal sales.
While US automakers almost crashed and burned in the global economic crisis, demand for parts and repair services apparently weren't hit quite as hard. Indeed, over the past five years, LKQ's sales have quadrupled and the firm's net income is up nearly 500%.
LKQ is diversifying geographically through acquisitions to become less dependent on the US market, which currently accounts for about 90% of total sales. It is also extending its business to include complementary products, such as cooling products and paint.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Since its formation in 1998, LKQ has completed more than 130 acquisitions in the US and abroad. In October 2011 it acquired Euro Car Parts (ECP) in a move to expand in Europe. The deal, valued at £225 million ($347 million), positions LKQ as the largest aftermarket auto parts distributor in the UK. In addition to ECP, the company made 20 acquisitions in North America in 2011, including a dozen wholesale products businesses, five recycled heavy-duty truck products businesses, and three self-service retail operations. Previously, LKQ entered Canada through its purchase of aftermarket product supplier Cross Canada in 2010. In 2012 the firm expects to continue its acquisitive ways.