CAR parts and repair specialist Kwik-Fit could be valued at up to £1bn if auctioned in the coming months, a report said.

CVC Capital, which acquired the business from US car maker Ford in 2002, is thought to be ready to appoint financial advisors after being told Kwik-Fit would command an enterprise value of between £750m and £1bn.

A flotation is likely to be considered, although a source told the Financial Times that a sale before the end of the summer was more likely.

The report said other buy-out groups were likely to be interested in the company's strong cash flow, while trade interest may come from tyre makers, including Bridgestone and Michelin.

Another option could be a refinancing package.

Speculation linking Kwik-Fit to an imminent flotation or sale has been circulating since early last year. CVC is also among the backers of department store group Debenhams and pubs chain Spirit.

Since the takeover by CVC, Kwik-Fit has closed a number of sites to boost profitability and embarked on its first TV advertising campaign for more than five years.

It recently appointed Ian Fraser, the former chief operating officer of mobile company Orange, as new chief executive.

Published: 22/02/2005