Analysts and shareholders have given their backing to Halfords’ £73.2 million takeover of a Midland car servicing firm.

The Redditch-based firm has completed the acquisition of Nationwide Autocentres in a £73.2 million deal.

The move was welcomed in the City as Halfords shares rose almost 10 per cent in early trading after the announcement, which is set to create up to 1,000 new jobs.

Andrew Wade, an analyst at Numis Securities, said the deal represented “excellent use” of Halfords’ strong cash generation.

He added: “As well as providing another leg of growth to a solid core business, we see significant scope for cross-marketing and synergies.”

As a direct result of the acquisition, Mr Wade raised his forecast on 2011 pre-tax profits by £6 million to £130 million. He is looking for profits of £114.4 million in the current financial year.

After the deal, Nationwide’s 224 sites will be rebranded as Halfords Autocentres and it is expected that Halfords will roll out a further 200 centres.

Halfords said the rapid increase in demand for its in-store “we fit” services highlighted the opportunities in the car maintenance market.