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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. intends to sign an agreement to sell control of Kwik-Fit, which operates a chain of vehicle repair shops in Europe, for about $500 million, officials announced Monday.

Ford also announced that the company has completed the sale of Collision Team of America, a U.S.-based chain of repair shops.

``We are pleased to have found such suitable owners for both Kwik-Fit and Collision Team of America,'' said Martin Inglis, Ford group vice president of business strategy.

``Although these are good businesses, they don't align with our back-to-basics strategy. These sales further signal the progress that Ford is making on key parts of our revitalization plan.''

In January, Ford announced a restructuring plan that includes the closing of at least five plants and elimination of 35,000 jobs worldwide by mid-decade.

CVC Capital Partners, a leading European private equity group, intends to purchase an 81 percent stake in Kwik-Fit for about $500 million in cash and a note that will be paid as CVC obtains outside financing, according to a Ford statement.

Ford will retain a 19 percent equity interest in the new company.

The sale is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2002 and is subject to regulatory approvals. Ford will record a one-time, after-tax charge of approximately $500 million in the third quarter of 2002 related to the sale of Kwik-Fit.

Ford bought Kwik-Fit in 1999. The European chain has 2,400 service centers and more than 11,500 employees.

Daniel Hall, a private businessman, has agreed to purchase 100 percent of the stock and assets of Collision Team of America and will operate the business. The sale of Collision Team of America was completed on July 31.

Collision Team of America operates 32 shops in four states under various names and has about 850 employees. Ford bought a minority stake in the company in 1998 and acquired the remaining shares last year.


On the Net:

Ford Motor Co., http://www.ford.com/