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Chief Auto Plans to File for IPO


Automobile parts and accessories retailer Chief Auto Parts Inc. plans to launch an initial public stock offering later this spring, a spokesman said Thursday.

The company has alerted holders of its stock-purchase warrants that it expects to file documents for the offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission soon, the spokesman said.

The number of shares, expected price and proceeds were not disclosed, and the company declined further comment.

Analysts said Chief apparently hopes to benefit from a growing public appetite for new stocks in general.

And while the $19-billion-a-year auto parts retailing business is stagnant, large chains such as Chief, AutoZone Inc. and Pep Boys are gaining market share and increasing profits by gobbling up the thousands of independent stores that once dominated the industry. "That means that a well-capitalized player can do very well" in the parts industry, said analyst Bret D. Jordan of Advest Inc. in Boston.

Chief, which is headquartered in Dallas but owned by a unit of Los Angeles-based Trust Co. of the West, operates more than 560 retail stores in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.

The company earned $2.9 million last year on revenue of $465 million.

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