Blog

SCHAEFFLER REVENUES DOWN IN ‘PERSISTENTLY DIFFICULT’ MARKET

Automotive components and systems manufacturer Schaeffler has published its financial report for the first half of the year. 

Company revenue, reported as €7.2 billion euros for the first six months, decreased at constant currency by 0.8 percent in what the report referred to as a ‘persistently difficult market environment’. This was driven largely by the automotive divisions, while the industrial division saw some revenue growth. 

Meanwhile, the firm’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin was 7.7 percent compared with the prior year’s 11.0 percent margin, with the decrease attributed to a decrease in gross margin and higher expenses. However, this did improve from 7.5 percent in the first quarter to 7.9 percent in the second. 

READ: SCHAEFFLER PLANT SOLD IN MBO

The Automotive OEM division saw revenue of approximately 4,514 million euros for the first half of this year, with the firm claiming a drop of 2.9 percent on last year in constant currency. Though the company did say that ‘order intake was very encouraging in the first six months, totaling 7.7 billion euros’ and that the E-Mobility business division won a 1.1 billion euro supply contract.

Schaeffler’s Langen HQ

Similarly, the Aftermarket division also reported a revenue of 905 million euros, a drop of 2.4 percent at constant currency, attributed to a ‘considerable decline in revenue in the Europe region’. EBIT before special items was reported as 136 million euros compared to 177 million euros in the prior year, while EBIT margin before special items was 15.1 percent, down from 19.3 percent in the prior year. 

READ: SCHAEFFLER’S NEW DATA DIVISION

Dietmar Heinrich, CFO of Schaeffler, said the company is ‘increasingly successful in managing our use of capital more efficiently,’ and noted: “In the second half of 2019, we will focus on even stronger discipline regarding cost and capital and on generating cash flow. 

Meanwhile, Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler, noted the ‘persistent weakness’ of the global automotive business, and said: “Following a difficult first six months that fell slightly short of our expectations, we believe that the market environment will remain challenging in the second half of 2019 as well.

“We have acted on this trend by adjusting our full-year guidance for 2019,” he said. 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, Retailer News, special newsComments (0)

COMPANIES HOUSE – THE CASE FOR REFORM…

By Peter Windat – accountant and insolvency practitioner at BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency 

The work and practices of Companies House, the repository for all information on the majority of the UK’s companies and similar registered entities, is currently under review. In May, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy issued a consultation about options to reform the body and change is coming.

In recent years concerns have grown that the UK’s framework is open to misuse. Concerns arise mainly from four interrelated issues – misuse of UK companies by international criminals and corrupt elites; the accuracy of information held at Companies House; the abuse of personal information on the register; and the limited nature of cross checks between Companies House and other public and private sector bodies.

Given a span of 80 pages much is covered, and the view is clearly that much work needs to be done to help keep the UK in the leading pack of countries in which it is desirable to start and grow a business.

Know who’s managing

The government is proposing that individuals who have a key role in companies should have their identity verified. This would apply to company officers (directors), People with Significant Control (PSCs), and those filing information.

It should be possible to introduce such identity checks simply but there are also important data protection issues.

The consultation sets out why greater certainty over the identity of those shown as owning, running or controlling companies is needed, it shows how new technology offers the opportunity to obtain greater assurance over identities, and sets out far-reaching proposals to introduce identity checks for those who file information on the register, directors, PSCs and, on a voluntary basis, shareholders.

This document proposes a series of reforms that would deliver better quality information on the register – including extending the powers of Companies House to query and seek corroboration on information before it is entered on the register and making it easier to remove inaccurate information. In addition, the government is proposing improvements to the process and delivery of annual accounts to Companies House. The government intends to maintain the current approach to retaining records of dissolved companies on the register for 20 years from dissolution.

Personal information

The government has outlined how Companies House will store information if its proposals are adopted. Under identity verification proposals, access to the register will be carefully managed, allowing only identified or authorised persons to file information. New processes are proposed for sensitive information to be protected. Proposals to allow directors some additional rights to suppress their information from public view have also been set out.

Information on the register should be of real, practical use to those who wish to find out information about those taking advantage of the privilege and protection of limited liability. However, information on the register should not become a tool for abuse and so information of a sensitive personal nature will not be made publicly available.

Ensuring compliance

Companies House data on UK corporate bodies could be improved through cross checks against data held by other government and private sector bodies. The government wants to see the exchange of intelligence made easier in order to enable greater sophistication in identifying possible criminal behaviour. This will lead to faster identification of anomalies between data at Companies House and elsewhere.

Also sought were views on several related measures that might deter abuse of UK legal entities, including ending the business activities of limited partnerships which are being misused, imposing limits on the number of directorships any one individual can hold, disclosure of banking information and action to deter misuse of company names and addresses.

The routine cross-checking of information on the companies register against external data sets and powers to obtain feedback on discrepancies identified is proposed alongside adopting a risk-based approach to the sharing of intelligence with police and requiring firms to provide bank details.

Implementation

The proposals in the consultation, if implemented in full, would amount to the most significant reform of the UK’s company registration framework since a register was first introduced in 1844 and go to the core of the Companies Act. There will be an impact on the fees levied by Companies House, though the government fully expects them to remain very low compared to international standards.

The transformation will touch every aspect of Companies House’s work, covering both customer-facing and internal digital systems.

Although responses to the proposals were required by August 5, there will be a little leeway for late submissions.

Posted in CAT FeaturesComments (0)

PUTTING A STOP TO BRAKE DUST

By Greg Whitaker

The knives have been out for traveling by car recently. All around the nation, there have been scores of column inches devoted to the harm that small particulate matter does to our bodies – and if you live around London, you have probably seen some of the anti-car campaigns being run by the Mayor’s office as a new wave of legislation dictating what vehicles can be driven and when take effect.

It isn’t just smokey exhausts that have caught the attention of the powers that be. A cross-party committee called the Air Quality Expert Group has identified that tyres, roads and perhaps most notably, the dust from brake linings are a source of very small particulates which can cause problems with breathing and can also enter the water table easily when rain washes the dust from the road.

Scale of the issue

In one sense the problem is unlikely to be growing as hybrid and electric vehicles use regenerative braking, so the amount of wear on the pads is greatly reduced. However, as the amount of particulates from exhausts reduces, pollution from brake and tyre wear will increase as a percentage, with DEfRA predicting that 10 percent of transport emissions will be from these sources by 2030. In Germany alone it has been calculated that 10,000 tonnes of brake dust is scattered annually.

It might be easy to dismiss this issue as just rhetoric, but cases of lung diseases and asthma are on the rise and there is good evidence that it is the smaller particles, rather than the bigger sooty ones, that cause the most damage to the organs of the body.

So, what can be done? We asked a number of the 60 or so friction lining brands if they are taking any action on the issue.

Scott Irwin, Technical Trainer at TMD Friction, the company behind brands such as Mintex, Textar and Pagid, said: “With regards to pollution through tyres and brakes overall, there are currently no official limits or common methods of measurement. It is much more difficult to provide these guidelines than it was for emissions from exhaust pipes because brakes are open systems”.

He added that his company has around 800 materials to choose from. “Our raw material portfolio management team proactively researches and tests suitable new raw materials that are not harmful to people or the environment when processed or when used in the brake system,” he said, adding that TMD is a member of the UN’s Particle Measurement Programme which is dedicated to address the issues of non-exhaust related emissions from vehicles.

New materials

Most people know that asbestos was used in making brake pads and shoes until it was, quite sensibly, banned from use donkey’s years ago. Perhaps less well known is the use of copper wire to make the friction material bind together. Copper isn’t in itself harmful, but when ground into a fine power, the metal can get into the bloodstream where it is toxic.

Copper is being phased out, and some companies have already removed it entirely from friction linings. However, others have kept it in the mixture and will do so until required to do so by law.

Matt Leeming a Manager at aftermarket braking brand Juratec noted that his company had discontinued use of copper and other heavy metals some time ago, but the problem is spread wider: “Of course, governments are looking to go further than just restricting the use of some of the more problematic ingredients of brake pads. It has been established that this wear debris, or particulate matter, which is a mixture of both pad and disc debris ranging in particle size from under 100 micrometres to approx. 0.1 micrometres, with some of it falling in the critical respirable range of 10 to one micrometres” he said.

By comparison, a human hair typically has a width of about 50 micrometres.

“To reduce particle emissions further will require a much broader approach across a number of fronts so we are seeing special hard coatings being applied to the surface of brake discs to reduce their wear rates and of course carbon-ceramic discs offer reduced wear albeit at a significantly higher cost” Leeming furthered. “The automotive industry is also exploring partially enclosing brakes and fitting them with filters in order to capture the bulk of particulate emissions so the likely final outcome will be a combination of measures”.

The filters referred to by Leeming are being developed by companies including Mann+Hummel based in Germany. The firm recently exhibited a working model of a brake dust filter, which featured in the firm’s company magazine. For the filter media the engineers opted for a metallic based web. The fibers are resistant to corrosion and are able to withstand the high temperatures on the brake. Several German magazines have also shown pictures of the filter, built on as part of the brake mechanism, being tested on various new VWs, suggesting that VMs might include the design on new vehicles in the near future.

Some firms are further down the road of removing metal from brake pads than others. A few we spoke to would only say that the binding agent would be removed ‘when the time comes’, i.e when required to do so by legislation and herein lies the problem of cleaning up the mixture used in brake linings.

There is scope for development, but with so many brands fighting for space on the factor’s racking, there needs to be rules and clearly repeatable tests introduced that everyone must follow.

Trains a problem too

Don’t think that simply avoiding cars and taking the tube will be an answer to keeping clear of brake dust particulates. Filter brand Mann+Hummel has reported that longer visits to underground railway stations can also be harmful to health. Measurements in the London underground system, for example, have registered air pollution with inhalable particles in the range of 500 to 1,120mg per cubic metre, which compared to the EU’s guideline of 50mg is off the scale. A tunnel cleaning train used to be in service, but it was withdrawn and plans for a replacement were quietly dropped.

Posted in Blogs, UncategorisedComments (0)

ILLEGAL REFRIGERANT SEIZED ENTERING EUROPE

A shipment of illegal air-con refrigerant has been seized before entering Europe.

The seizure took place at the port of Gdynia in Poland and was a joint effort between refrigerant producer Honeywell and local customs authorities. In this instance the purchaser of the illegal shipment consented to the seizure and agreed to pay the cost of destroying the product.

The seizure is the latest action taken by Honeywell to stop the infringement of its Solstice products which are designed for automobile and other air conditioning systems. In the past year alone, customs authorities in coordination with the producer, have seized multiple shipments of HFO-1234yf around the world.

As reported in CAT in June the amount of illegal refrigerant on the market has increased dramatically over the past two years, bringing both safety concerns and depriving legitimate suppliers of income.

Honeywell has recently brought patent infringement lawsuits against one European and two Chinese companies who were either making or distributing infringing HFO-1234yf.

“We’re working around the clock to protect users from products made by unknown sources, as they can be potentially harmful to equipment or to human health,” said Richard Winick, VP and GM Automotive Refrigerants at Honeywell. “There are several easy ways to avoid buying illegal refrigerants including purchasing refrigerants only from a reputable distributor who can prove in writing that their product was supplied by Honeywell or a licensed source, never buy refrigerants in generic, or in unbranded packaging and never buy refrigerant in Europe in illegal disposable tanks.”

Gas seized in Gdynia, Poland
(Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS’ CALLIPERS ON THE MARKET SAYS REMANUFACTURER

Not all brake callipers are remanufactured to the same standard’ according to Wrexham-based Brake Engineering. 

In a statement issued to CAT, the firm says that it has seen problems in this category in the market. 

“Not all callipers available in the market today are remanufactured the same” the statement reads. “Several competitor units we have tested are being sold with reclaimed pistons, which could result in component failure or splitting the piston seal”. 

“These callipers also have had mounting holes and castings machined. A machined mounting hole could alter the critical dimensions of the calliper and increase the wear and strain during use. Machined castings could again alter the critical dimensions of the unit, increase the original pad gap and create uneven pad wear, which would result in brake squeal or brake judder”.

The firm also reported that the quality of new-in-box callipers was variable. “Currently, there are also a number of ‘new’ callipers entering the market. We have also tested a number of these callipers being sold on to independent garages. While these products may appear fit for purpose there performance has been found to be severely questionable. While aesthetically they look fine, under closer testing all units were shown to have “porosities” (holes) and oxides in the material and all had partly inhomogeneous microstructures, which could result in weakening of the unit and be extremely dangerous when braking under normal driving conditions” the statement concluded. 

We’ll be following up the company’s assertions in September’s remanufacturing feature. 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, special news, UncategorisedComments (3)

PROMO: HELLA REVIVES ITS BULB RANGE

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT ON BEHALF OF HELLA

Good visibility is vital for road safety, therefore lighting and electronics specialist HELLA is continuously working to improve its existing lighting systems.

New bulb packs ensure product categories are recognisable at a glance

To support this, the company has revised its range of bulbs for cars, commercial vehicles, agricultural machinery and motorcycles. This is reflected in the new carton and blister packaging, as well as a new colour scheme. The blister packs are designed to support the retail sector with a transparent front and back, making it easy for the end user to search for and select the right product.

This packaging ensures that product categories such as Standard, Performance, Design and Long Life are recognisable at a glance. Futhermore, icons and QR codes are also on the packaging and provide additional information on service life or light colour and show suitable applications and vehicle types.

HELLA has been manufacturing bulbs for more than 120 years. With many years of experience in the field of automotive lighting, the company offers a comprehensive portfolio in original equipment quality.

For more information about the new packaging or any of the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email hella.sales@hella.com

Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

‘PALLETS CRISIS’ LOOMS IN A NO DEAL SCENARIO

Only one third of existing UK pallets will be compliant with EU rules in a no-deal scenario according to packing company Pallite.

The problem is ISPM-15 requirements which require heat treating or fumigation of wooden packaging to prevent disease transfer. The EU applies lower standards to members, allowing untreated pallets to move across borders but this benefit would be lost in a no deal scenario.

In order to meet the requirements, the firm is to ramp up production of its pallet products, which are made from a paper-based material that is exempt from the regulations. The company reports that so far, £1.1m in funding has been raised through the crowd-funding site CrowdCube.

Iain Hulmes, CEO of Pallite, said:

Most of the UK’s pallets might be useless if an EU deal is not reached

“We are delighted that our fundraising has been such a success at an important time for the nation. While we don’t endorse any political position, we recognise the reality that, if there is no deal between the UK and EU, there could be a pallets crisis and [we] are in a position to help”.

 

(Pic: Getty)

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

PROMO: WD-40, YOUR FLEXIBLE FRIEND

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT ON BEHALF OF WD-40

 

Flexible Straw reaches otherwise inaccessible areas

Due to its incredible versatility, WD-40 Flexible Multi-Use Product has fast become an essential tool for any automotive professional. The world-renowned super-formula is perfect for a range of uses, such as cleaning and protecting metal parts, removing rust, penetrating and displacing moisture, and lubricating and protecting moving mechanical components. It can be used on a wide range of materials such as metal, plastic, most rubbers and glass and it’s also silicone free, meaning it’s safe to use in all automotive environments from workshops to body shops.

Automotive applications are numerous, and include lubricating door hinges and sunroof sliding panels, and protecting vital components from water ingress. The ingenious addition of the Flexible Straw — a hard-wearing, heat-resistant, bendable extension — means it is easier than ever before to reach those tight or difficult-to-reach places.

Flexible Straw can be used to spray around corners

The Flexible straw keeps its shape and can even administer the formula upside-down, so it’s ideal for precision work. Specific areas can be targeted such as cables, bearings and engine fittings, making fiddly and time-consuming dismantling a thing of the past. WD-40 Flexible effectively limits down time, and helps you to get more cars on (and off) the ramp. With its quick application, powerful formula, and ability to save you time and money, WD-40 Flexible is fast becoming the go-to solution for most automotive tasks.

Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

MUKESH: ‘I WANT A £200m BUSINESS BY 2025’

Mukesh Shah, Founder and Chairman of independent factor chain Motor Parts Direct has told an audience of his plans to grow the business further.

Speaking at the firm’s 20th anniversary supplier meeting and conference, known to all by his first name, Mukesh, said: “Our vision is to have 200 branches and sales revenues of £200m by 2025”.

READ: MPD ACQUIRES ALS MOTOR PARTS

He went on to explain that the target would only be achievable with the commitment of everyone in the company. “You can have a clear vision, but you need excellent people to realise it… We believe that we have the best people in the industry to operate our business”.

Mukesh added that in 2014 he stated an aim to become a £100m business and this was realised a little over a year later through a mixture of organic growth and acquisitions.

Mukesh at MPD Awards

Originally a regional chain based in East Anglia, the firm now has 120 branches across England and Wales. It has benefitted from the acquisition of other long-established regional chains, including Kevin Cooper, CAFCO and Central Auto Supplies. MPD is now the UK’s largest independent factor chain.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Industry Insight, Latest News, latest news, News, special newsComments (2)

‘MAJOR DIFFICULTIES WITH SOFTWARE’ BLAMED FOR POOR RESULTS AT LIQUI MOLY

The introduction of new company software has been blamed for mixed half-year results at lubricant manufacturer Liqui Moly.

Problems with the suite have had a ‘direct impact on business relations’  according to the company, leaving customers frustrated.  “In my entire professional career, I have not had to apologize so often to customers, as I have had to in the last six months. The level of service that we are currently delivering really pains me,” says Ernst Prost. The company is also incurring considerable extra costs, for example, because containers can only be half filled, delivery vehicles have to wait longer than planned to be loaded, or air freight needs to be used when items that are needed urgently do not arrive by ship in time. “It’s not our customers’ fault that we are having problems, so we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on them and to bear any additional costs.” These expenses are not the whole story either. “In addition to the huge cost of having the software installed, every day produces new things to trouble shoot and problems to solve.”

READ: LIQUI MOLY ACQUIRED BY WURTH GROUP

All of this has left significant tracks in the company’s figures. Compared to the first half of 2018, turnover has fallen slightly by 0.8 percent to € 259.6 million, and this is only because the high backlog of orders cannot be fully processed due to the computer problems. Earnings for the half-year fell by around 30 percent to € 11 million. “I never would have thought that in 2019 a change of software could send a whole company skidding off the road” concluded Prost.

The company hopes to have the computer problems under control, and a new central warehouse in action, ‘by the end of the year at the latest’.

Software causes production delays at plant

 

 

 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

Advertisement
  • FRANCHISING: The perils of buying into an unproven chain
  • EAT MY (BRAKE) DUST: Should we take brake pad emissions more seriously?
  • PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE: Is the aftermarket as productive as it should be? .

more info

    • Should hand car washes face further regulation?

      View Results

      Loading ... Loading ...
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe