Monday, August 9, 1999 Published at 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
Business: The Company File
AA members vote on sell-off
Eligible members could get a £240 windfall
Millions of Automobile Association members started receiving voting packs on Monday in the first step towards selling off the motoring organisation.
The gas supplier Centrica has made an offer of £1.1bn, which the AA Committee is recommending.
"This sale is the most important event in the AA's history," said its chairman, Sir Brian Shaw.
"We are convinced that, as part of Centrica, a great British company which is committed to delivering service of the highest quality, our organisation will have the backing to provide the finest roadside service."
The company has committed itself to maintaining and improving the AA's services, and has also said that the AA will retain its role as an independent voice for motorists.
An AA spokesman said: "Members will not see an awful lot of difference after the sale, except better services. We have got to keep up with the competition and this is the only way forward.
The AA has had to make job cuts over the past year, and in June it posted annual losses of £21.7m. Its main rival, the RAC, was sold to vehicle leasing group Lex Service for £437m in April.
AA members must send their forms back by 8 September. A special general meeting will be held eight days later to announce the result.
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