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BREAKING: AAG ACQUIRED BY GENUINE PARTS COMPANY

BREAKING:  The following statement has been released by Genuine Parts Company:

ATLANTA and LONDON, September 25, 2017 — Genuine Parts Company (NYSE: GPC) (“the Company”) and Alliance Automotive Group (“AAG”), a leading European distributor of vehicle parts, tools and workshop equipment, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Genuine Parts Company will acquire Alliance Automotive Group from private equity funds managed by Blackstone and AAG’s co-founders.  The acquisition is valued at a total purchase price of approximately $2 billion, including the repayment of AAG’s outstanding debt upon closing. The transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors of GPC and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory approvals.    

AAG is the second largest parts distribution platform in Europe, with a focus on light vehicle and commercial vehicle replacement parts.  Headquartered in London, AAG has 7,500 employees and over 1,800 company-owned stores and affiliated outlets across France, the U.K. and Germany. AAG has a consistent track record of organic revenue and earnings growth supported by strategic investments based on a proven M&A strategy to gain scale, efficiencies and geographic coverage. 

AAG is expected to generate gross annual billings of approximately $2.3 billion (US$) including supplier direct billings, or $1.7 billion of revenue on a U.S. GAAP basis in 2017.  Additionally, the Company expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings in the first year after closing.  For 2018, incremental diluted earnings per share is estimated at $0.45 to $0.50 and adjusted earnings per share is estimated at $0.65 to $0.70, which excludes the amortization of acquisition-related intangibles.  The Company expects to incur one-time transaction costs in the fourth quarter of 2017.  

Paul Donahue, Genuine Parts Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are excited to combine with AAG and enter the European markets with critical scale and a leading market position in the automotive aftermarket.  AAG is poised to contribute significant sales growth and earnings accretion to Genuine Parts Company and also serves to enhance the GPC platform for long-term, sustainable expansion across the global automotive parts industry.  AAG has a strong management team and a deep bench of talent, and our similar cultures and histories make this acquisition an excellent strategic fit. We are confident this business investment will create significant value for our shareholders, and we welcome the AAG team to the Genuine Parts family.  We look forward to their future contributions to our ongoing success.”

Jean-Jacques Lafont, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Alliance Automotive Group, said, “The AAG team has tremendous respect for Genuine Parts Company and its well-deserved reputation as a long-standing leader in the automotive parts industry.  We are very pleased to combine our two great businesses and leverage our collective resources and expertise to accelerate growth.  AAG’s success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our wonderful employees, without whom this transaction would not be possible. I am confident that, together, we will achieve great things and continue to provide the highest quality parts and service to our combined customers across the globe.” 

Lionel Assant, Head of European Private Equity at Blackstone, said, “Over the past three years, AAG has experienced tremendous growth and transformed into one of Europe’s leading automotive parts distributors.  We would like to thank AAG’s management team led by Jean-Jacques Lafont and Alistair Brown for their vision and leadership as well as all its staff for their exceptional efforts.  We have no doubt that the business will go on to further growth under Genuine Parts Company, which is the right partner to support AAG’s continued success.” 

The Company intends to finance the transaction, including the pay-off of AAG’s existing debt arrangements, with approximately $2 billion of debt financing.  This will include the combination of new term loan agreements, new multi-currency debt and an upsized revolving credit facility

 

We’ll have more analysis on this breaking story soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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REPORT: DIESEL CARS PRODUCE ‘MORE CO2 OVER LIFECYCLE’

Two years after the emissions scandal, a new study by Brussels-based  thinktank Transport & Environment (T&E) claims that diesel cars not only pollute the air but also emit more CO2 over their lifetime than petrol cars. A lifecycle analysis of vehicle emissions proves that diesel cars over its lifetime emit 3.65 tonnes of CO2 more than a petrol equivalent.

The group claims that the  higher climate impact is due to a mix of more energy-intensive refining of the diesel fuel; more materials required in the production of heavier and more complex engines; higher emissions from the biodiesel blended in the diesel fuel; and controversially, a claim that derv-powered cars cover a greater mileage ‘because fuel is cheaper’.

Julia Poliscanova from the group said: “The legacy of Dieselgate are the 37 million grossly polluting diesel cars still on Europe’s roads. While some of them will be taken off German roads, these dirty cars will soon end up in Central and Eastern Europe choking citizens there. We need concerted and coordinated action EU-wide to ensure these cars stop belching toxic fumes for another 10-15 years. It is time for the carmakers to take responsibility for their clean up and cash out for the local measures to tackle the urban air pollution crisis they have largely caused.  National vehicle regulators must ensure this happens or the European Commission step in and sort out the mess.”

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IAAF CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

The proceedings for the IAAF’s Annual Conference are well underway with a variety of industry speakers set to take centre stage and discuss the ‘real’ issues affecting the aftermarket, post Brexit.

So far, confirmed speakers include Dr. Julia Saini (Frost and Sullivan), Allistair Preston (whocanfixmycar) as well as Steve Nash (IMI), Olaf Heffing (Mahle) and more. The event will be facilitated by racing car legend Johnny Herbert who will help debate other topics on the federation’s agenda including the Connected Car and the government’s recent announcement for the abolishment of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

IAAF Chief Exec Wendy Williamson said, “The expertise, experience and insight provided by our speakers will, I believe, feature in the future strategic planning of all those that attend”, she added. “We’re looking to the future, but we also recognise the pressures faced by our members today and will aim to provide some clarity and insight into these challenges”.

This year’s conference will take place at the Players Suite, Double Tree by Hilton on Thursday 7th December. For those invited, don’t forget your black tie!

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JAPANPARTS EXTENDS SENSOR OFFERING

PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF JAPANPARTS GROUP

Japanparts Group. New product
ABS sensors. Pre-code: ABS- / 151- / 151

What is the ABS sensor for?
The ABS sensor – positioned on the constant-velocity joint or near the wheel hub – has the fundamental task of constantly updating the ABS control unit, reading the speed of each individual wheel through a cog wheel. The ABS sensor is the fundamental element in the braking system because, as it continuously communicates with the control unit, it significantly increases driving safety by stopping the vehicle in the quickest and safest way possible.

The ABS sensor transmits the tangential velocity – measured on the wheel – to the other systems. The electronic control unit processes this information (slipping or differences in velocity between wheels), activating the anti-blocking system on the brakes. If the ABS sensor detects a loss of traction on the wheels, the ABS system adjusts the pressure of the fluid in the individual cylinders and activates the pump that excludes the manual system and acts immediately on the brake.

Why to check the ABS sensor?
It is good practice, every 2 years, to check the electrical parts inside the braking system. The ABS braking system tends to deteriorate the most during the winter months, owing to the extreme weather conditions and the salt on the roads.

The main causes of replacement of ABS sensors may also be: damage from collision or accidental contact with the gravel found on the road, impact with the tone wheel owing to a bearing anomaly. If the sensor is broken, the entire ABS system is deactivated.

What are we offering?

With a coverage of 89% of the vehicles on the roads, Japanparts Group further extends its range of ABS sensors with more than 500 codes available for Asian, European and American vehicles, and add our range items that are usually difficult to find, such as cam shaft position sensors or crankshaft position sensors.

ABS sensors under the Japanparts, Ashika and Japko brands are guaranteed for 24 months, and offer a high-quality equivalent alternative to the original product, and are used in ABS, ASR and GPS systems. They are made with special plastic materials and have high quality electro-technical and electro-mechanical properties, which guarantee a high level of resistance. The sensors and connecting cables are capable of resisting extreme temperatures between -40 °C and +125 °C.

Click and download the ABS Sensor Catalog: http://www.japanpartsgroup.com/splash/page

The ABS braking system
What is the ABS braking system for?

When, in a dangerous situation, the driver brakes hard on the brake pedal, the wheels get stuck and skid over the road surface. This has the following results:

– A loss of directional control, with the vehicle swerving. – A lack of control of the vehicle. – An increase in the space required to stop. – Deformation of the tyres. – An increase in accidents.

When the brake pedal is pushed all the way down, the ABS system adjusts the pressure on the individual cylinders, in relation to the acceleration or deceleration of the wheels.

What are the advantages of an ABS system?

ABS stops the wheels from locking during the braking phase, therefore:

– Directional stability is maintained.
– The vehicle’s manoeuvrability is ensured.
– There is a reduction in braking distance. – The tyres are not damaged. – Many accidents are avoided.

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KEEPING A CAP ON THE PRESSURE

Times are changing in the radiator business, but Nick White has adapted.

NRG is the only radiator shop in Leeds.

There was a time when every market town in the land had a couple of independent radiator reconditioners, or at least a branch of a national chain such as Serck Marston. However, time moves on. “Reconditioning of car radiators is a dying industry” said Nick White, proprietor of Leeds- based Northern Radiators. “Radiators used to be copper and brass so you either went to the main dealer for a new one, or came to us to recondition it. Now the tanks are plastic, there is not the need”.

“The factories can just stamp out the plastic tanks and that’s what they do in China”. White adds that because some of these companies supply the public directly through auction sites, trying to import and compete in this sector is a waste of effort. “There’s more profit in selling the radiator cap on eBay than there is selling the whole unit” he remarked glibly.

However, where there’s brass, there’s more brass (as the old Yorkshire saying almost goes) and Northern Radiators has cut out a niche for itself in remanufacturing heavy duty and specialist rads that do still have heavy metal construction. “We do both corporate and private accounts, from councils and airports to people with classic cars” White explains, and to demonstrate the fact we went and had a look at the workshop’s ‘in tray’. Straight away we noticed some familiar-looking classic references, apparently from a Ford Cortina and a Triumph Vitesse, while another customer dropped off a radiator from his Rolls-Royce as we were speaking.

RANGE
Alongside these rads sat some more heavy-duty ones, apparently from fork-lift trucks, while another couple of huge and ancient-looking units waited, which had apparently come from backup generators in the basement of a building somewhere. Apart from cooling system radiators, the firm can also supply and recondition oil coolers, intercoolers and heater matrixes. It also offers a service to repair fuel tanks and sump pans.

Despite White’s earlier dismissal of new replacement rads, the firm does stock a number of quality performance parts from suppliers Mishimoto and Koyo, mainly as upgrades over OE for vehicles such as Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo. These high-end parts are bought by enthusiasts and command a reasonable margin.

While the firm has been at its current 3000 sq ft location for a few years, it dates back much further. In fact, the business was started in 1920. After the second world war, Nick White’s father Paul started his own radiator company following demobilisation. He acquired Northern Radiators in 1948. Now 94 years old and retired he still takes an active interest in the company. Northern Radiators was set up as a company in 1920. My father had come out of the army and started is own radiator company after the war and acquired Northern Radiators in 1948. He’s name is Paul White and he is 94 and still alive” said White.

TRADITION
Another traditional aspect of the business is the way in which radiators are recored which could make a fascinating article of its own, but in short involves quite a lot of hydrochloric acid and radiators tested under pressure. “The principal remains exactly the same” agrees White. “With modern health and safety we are a bit more switched on than a traditional operation, but radiators are very similar”.

And according to White, it will continue to be radiators at the ‘core’ of the business for a while yet. “We’ve tried various other things but we always keep coming back to radiators. At the moment we are very busy on radiators, just seven people. We are lean and mean and it is manageable” he concluded.

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KNOW YOUR LIMITS: SET AN ALCOHOL POLICY

What is the best policy for booze in the workplace?

Sensible policies for alcohol at work are encouraged

Do you have a policy on alcohol in the workplace? If you don’t then you are hardly unusual as most British companies either don’t have anything written at all, or they swing the other way and have an absolute zero-tolerance policy… which may or may not be enforced.

However, you should have a policy in place and have the means to enforce it. As the trend for fines for corporate manslaughter and injury continues to significantly increase across the UK, the emphasis on employers to operate strong and effective health and safety policies and practices has never been more vital.

KNOW THE LAW
Aside from drugs and alcohol costing British businesses in excess of £6 billion per year in lost productivity, under the Transport and Works Act 1992 it is a criminal offence for any worker to be unfit to operate due to drink or drugs and employers must show due diligence to prevent such offences from occurring in the workplace.
Laws that relate to drink- driving are of special interest to motor factors or any other business that has a van fleet. Don’t forget that limits vary within the UK with England, Wales and Northern Ireland having the highest permitted limit of 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath, compared to Scotland’s reduced limit of 22 micrograms, which is in line with the majority of the rest of Western Europe.

BEST PRACTICE
Of course, these limits are perhaps moot if your company has an absolute zero policy on alcohol. However, such a policy might not actually be the best plan. Suzannah Robin, a Director at breathalyzer maker AlcoDigital said: “One of the first steps in setting best practice policy is deciding a company alcohol limit. There will be many factors determining what this should be and it will very much depend on your business operations, however, we would always recommend that an employer sets the limit below the current legal drink-driving limit rather than at a dead zero”.

“Whilst zero may sound like a target every business should be aiming for, it can also cause issues where there may be discrepancies in results, caused by things such as liquor in chocolates or alcohol in medicines. Instead, using a scale of differing limits to determine the next steps an employer should instigate in the event of a positive alcohol test will provide staff with a clear set of rules and help to avoid any unjustified gross misconduct disciplinaries” she added.

EVIDENCE
If a company intends to screen staff on a regular basis it can use a Home Office approved breathalyzer. However, should a screening test reveal a positive result, a company will be obliged to re-test the employee.

Of course it isn’t just about the type of equipment being used, but also how the procedure is carried out and followed through. This means making sure staff implementing alcohol workplace policy have the sufficient training to perform such tests fairly and effectively. Robin explained: “If an employer does not follow best practice policy this can cause issues further down the line, particularly if an employee has tested positive for alcohol. Therefore, professional and reliable training is absolutely crucial for those being assigned to implement alcohol testing policies in the workplace.”

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VMs TO ‘DESIGN OUT’ HACKERS

DfT Minister Lord Callanan

A new set of government guidelines have been announced by Department for Transport Minister Lord Callanan to protect motorists from cyber attacks on the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.

With immediate effect, manufacturers and technicians developing smart cars and high tech vehicles must ensure crooks are kept at bay by designing out any cyber security threats preventing would-be hackers from obtaining personal data, stealing cars that use keyless entry and taking control of them with malicious intent through wi-fi.

“Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected” notes Callanan. “Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber- attacks. That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry”.

Although most of the weight rests on VMs’ shoulders, Steve Nash, Chief Executive of the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI), says attention must also be brought to independents repairing these models, which is yet to be addressed by government in their latest guidelines.

“Computer diagnostics, vehicle programming and software updates are commonplace in the motor industry today. However, with the sector currently unregulated and no national standards in place it’s not always possible to track the people who may have access to our personal information” Nash said. “We are working hard to get government to address this area as well as the creation of systems at the manufacturing stage, so that motorists have confidence that they are not at risk.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Exec commented: “A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology”.

The new guidance can be viewed on the DfT’s website.

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BREAKING: THE PARTS ALLIANCE ACQUIRES BBC SUPERFACTORS

Business group The Parts Alliance has acquired long-term affiliate member BBC Superfactors.

The seven-branch chain was established thirty years ago by Gary Shulman and Peter Rostron and initially covered the Blackburn, Bury and Chorley areas, hence the name.

“Combining the dedication of our loyal staff team with the expertise of The Parts Alliance has proved to be a winning formula for us over several years,” said MD Gary Shulman.  “We’re excited to now strengthen this relationship to ensure our business continues to thrive long into the future.”

“Since joining The Parts Alliance in December 2012, BBC have posted consistent double-digit annual sales growth and have invested to achieve industry-leading service levels. We are very pleased to welcome our BBC colleagues in the team,” stated Peter Sephton, President and CEO, European Automotive Group.

File pic of team at Blackburn branch

“This acquisition strengthens our position in the UK market and underlines The Part Alliance’s capability of driving growth both organically and through acquisitions,” added Henry Buckley, President and CEO of the PA’s Canadian parent company, Uni-Select.

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CMA LATEST: CERTAIN ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES ‘DAMAGE COMPETITION’

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that the purchase by Euro Car Parts of much of the Andrew Page business could ‘damage competition in 10 local areas’.

Euro Car Parts bought most of Andrew Page in October 2016, after the latter went into administration. Following a complaint, a group of independent panel members at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has investigated the merger. The group identified 10 local areas in England where the two companies were close competitors and where the merger could result in reduced competition for local customers, leading to higher prices or a lower quality of service.

The 10 areas mentioned in the draft are:

  • (a) Blackpool;
  • (b) Brighton;
  • (c) Gloucester; 
  • (d)  Liphook;
  • (e)  Scunthorpe;
  • (f)  Sunderland;
  • (g)  Swindon;
  • (h)  Wakefield;
  • (i)  Worthing; and
  • (j)  York.

The group did not consider that national or multi-regional customers would be adversely affected by the merger.

Professor Alasdair Smith, Inquiry Chair, said: “Andrew Page was in administration and would have closed down if a purchaser had not been found. The only two other purchasers would have bought a much smaller number of depots. We think that in most markets the merger will not further reduce competition compared to the alternative. However, in 10 local areas we are concerned that a reduction in competition could lead to higher prices and a lower quality of service.

In addition to the summary of provisional findings and the provisional findings report, a notice of possible remedies has been issued today, which outlines the measures the CMA could take if it still believes the merger would reduce competition when it makes its final decision. This identifies that competition could be maintained if Euro Car Parts sells depots in the 10 affected areas.

Anyone wishing to respond to the notice of possible remedies should do so in writing by no later than 28 September 2017. Anyone wishing to respond to the provisional findings should do so in writing, by no later than 5 October 2017.

More on this fast-moving story as soon as we get it – Ed

 

 

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