ONE of the largest suppliers of car parts and garage equipment in the UK has gone into administration with a loss of more than 1,200 jobs, including five in Kidderminster.

Unipart Automotive operated 180 branches and distribution hubs across the country, one of which was the Kidderminster's, on Greenhill Industrial Estate.

The business was put into administration by KPMG late last night with only part of the company being sold to Andrew Page and The Parts Alliance.

The measures have saved 33 branches and 361 staff - none of which are in Worcestershire.

That means a total of 17 jobs have been lost across the county, including eight at the Worcester branch and five in Redditch.

KPMG partner Mark Orton said: “Despite intensive efforts over recent weeks, a sale of the whole Unipart Automotive business could not be reached and a buyer could only be found for 33 of the sites on a going concern basis.

“Unfortunately, the business had been experiencing financial stress for a number of years, so the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties.

“Our team of employment specialists will be supporting all staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services.

“We will now be reviewing what options are available for the remainder of the business.”

Unipart Automotive, previously known as Partco, was sold by Unipart Group in 2011 and was under the control of H2 Equity Partners before the collapse.

John Neill, chairman and chief executive of the Unipart Group, said: “We are saddened by the Unipart Automotive situation and even though we sold control of this business years ago, we are concerned for the future of the employees.

“We have recently been able to work constructively and collaboratively with Andrew Page and are pleased that they have been able to save 33 branches and around 350 jobs.”