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SHUTTERS DOWN ON THREE ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES

SHUTTERS DOWN ON THREE ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES

 Three branches of Andrew Page have closed, with the accounts and most of the staff being merged into nearby Euro Car Parts locations.

Oldham, Reading and Southampton branches are affected. Of these, Southampton is the newest having been opened to ‘fill the void’ left in the wake of rival Unipart Automotive’s collapse in 2014.

READ: ANDREW PAGE AND ECP TRAINING PROGRAMMES MERGE

A statement from Euro Car Parts read: “As part of our ongoing commitment to help make to our offering even better, we’ve identified some opportunities to merge a number of neighbouring Andrew Page and Euro Car Parts branches. These integrated branches will cover the same areas with more vans, sales advisors and warehouse teams, providing our customers with consistent delivery times, better stock availability, improved efficiency and new support services”.

READ: TEN ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES CLOSE FOLLOWING ‘OPERATIONAL REVIEW’

“We expect most staff in these branches to transfer to a nearby location and services to our customers will be the same, with only the dispatch point changing. Any employees affected have been informed”.

Andrew Page was acquired by Euro Car Parts when the former went into administration in 2016.

Andrew Page Southampton on opening in 2014

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NEW €4bn+ BID FOR OSRAM

NEW €4bn+ BID FOR OSRAM

German lighting manufacturer Osram has announced that it is in negotiations with Austrian sensor and semiconductor firm AMS AG following a takeover offer by the latter. 

The takeover would see ams acquire all outstanding Osram shares. AMS is understood to have offered a price of 38.50 euros per Osram share, which Osram estimates is equal to around 4.3 billion euros in enterprise value. 

In a statement issued on 14th August, Osram claimed to have been in talks with AMS since the previous day and would ‘continue to do so’. Regarding acceptance of the offer, Osram said it viewed ams AG’s financing concept – which involves bridge financing of 4.2 billion euros by investment banks HSBC and UBS – as ‘viable’. 

READ: Bain Capital and Carlyle bid €4bn for Osram

“In addition to the offer price and financing concept, a stable environment is important for Osram’s further transformation into a semiconductor-based high-tech photonics company,” Osram said. “Moreover, it is greatly important to Osram’s Man-

Osram HQ

-aging Board that all key stakeholders are appropriately protected, in particular the company’s employees and the essential parts of the company.” 

READ: Osram completes Ring Automotive acquisition

It is the second takeover offer for Osram in as many months. Private equity firms Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group made a similar offer for the public takeover of all Osram shares – albeit for a slightly lower share price of 35 euros per shares – in early July. Under the offer – which is still ongoing – Osram said it would retain its name and rights to all patents. At the time, Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram, said: “Bain and Carlyle are the right partners for Osram at the right time.” 

Talks are ongoing. 

 

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180 UK JOBS AT RISK IN MAHLE PLANT CLOSURE

180 UK JOBS AT RISK IN MAHLE PLANT CLOSURE

The Telford production location of automotive component supplier Mahle is due to close. 

In a company statement released in June, Mahle announced that it ‘considers the closure of its production location in Telford and enters into the corresponding collective consultation process.’  Closure is expected to take place in 2020-2021. 

On 8th August, a statement on behalf of plant manager Scott Ferguson said that the consultation process had been completed, according to a Shropshire Star report.

The closure creates uncertainty for the approximately 180 employees at the plant, which produces various parts used in OE production and filters for the firm.

Mahle claimed that the closure ‘results from declining order levels, which are expected to deteriorate even further due to the changed strategic direction of automobile manufacturers in Great Britain.’

The plant is not the only Mahle location set to close. In June, the company announced plans to close its Ohringen location in Germany amid a challenging market and competition. 

Closure of Telford site is imminent

In a financial report for the 2018 business year, Mahle reported sales of 12.6 billion euros before adjustments and reported over 79,000 employees – a growth of 1.6 percent. 

Aftermarket operations in the UK, centred at Bilston, are not affected in the restructure.

 

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GOV. ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR EV CHARGING

The Government has announced a £2.5 million increase in funding for residential electric car charging points. 

New Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the boost would fund the installation of more than 1,000 new charging points and doubled the funding available for local authorities to build charging infrastructure. 

Noting that there are over 20,000 publicly accessible charging stations, Shapps added that it was ‘vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes’.

The money specifically targets the construction of on-street charging points, which can be integrated into existing structures like lamp-posts, to provide ease of use to electric vehicle owners who do not have off-street parking.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), called the announcement ‘positive’ but urged the government to continue to invest in charging infrastructure. “The findings of our latest Consumer Attitude Survey suggested that ‘access to charging’ still represents a barrier to buying an electric vehicle for 53 percent of consumers,” she said.  

Meanwhile, Sebastian Speight, Managing Director of Infrastructure at investment managing firm Ingenious, said that uncertainty such as charging type and location surrounding charging infrastructure ‘creates a level of risk in these business models which has a closer fit with strategic or venture capital rather than more traditional infrastructure capital.’ He concluded: “A closer involvement from public stakeholders should enable greater visibility on these risks and increase the availability of private capital.”

 

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GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT

GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT

DVSA has made an agreement with the GEA that no new models of diesel smoke meter, exhaust gas analysers or decelerometers would be approved for use in MOT centres unless they can connect to the testing service.

This follows from a similar agreement between the two organisations last month that roller brake testers for classes 4,5 and 7 would only be approved if they connected to the new service.

From 1 October, new MOT centres will need a connected roller brake tester to receive approval and all garages will only be able to buy connectable roller brake testers as replacements. The same rules will apply to smoke meters, gas analysers and decelerometers, although a date to switch has not yet been announced.

READ: MOT SRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND 

Dave Garratt, GEA Chief Exec said:  “The main concern for GEA members is to improve the quality of MOT equipment and remove any possibility of human error in the reporting procedure. Connecting MOT test equipment is a very logical step for us as it removes any “miss keying” by the operator and speeds up the process”.

“Starting by connecting brake testers makes good sense and since the introduction of Automated Test Lanes (ATLs) most may already be connectable”.

“Connecting all types of processor-based equipment is possible and as connectivity is applied across the whole test bay it will add increasing value for the motorist by reducing error and benefit the garage by speeding up the test”.

Chris Price, DVSA Head of MOT Policy said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive. We’re bringing in connected equipment to modernise testing in MOT garages and reduce the potential for mistakes”

MOT equipment will communicate directly with centre

“It will make testing quicker, more accurate and give motorists greater confidence in the quality of testing. Garages already using this equipment have seen benefits to their business.”

 

 

 

 

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ALLIANCE AUTOMOTIVE UK ACQUIRES ASMF

ALLIANCE AUTOMOTIVE UK ACQUIRES ASMF

Alliance Automotive UK, the parent company of GroupAuto and UAN buying groups has acquired the seven-branch Autostores Motor Factors chain (ASMF). Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. 

Originally known as Sureparts and Panels and Paints, ASMF was a member of the PDP Group and PDP Chairman Alistair Whatmore was Managing Director. 

READ: JIM MAZZA JOINS THE PDP

ASMF is Alliance Automotive UK’s 12th acquisition of 2019, although it is the first this year to have been obtained from outside of the firm’s own buying groups. 

READ: AUTOSTORES GROUP ACQUIRES BARUM

This deal brings the total number of branches to be added to AAUK’s portfolio this year to 26, with a combined annual turnover in the region of £40m. 

We’ll bring you more info on this story as we get it. 

 

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UNIPART WINS EXTENSION TO JLR PACKING CONTRACT

UNIPART WINS EXTENSION TO JLR PACKING CONTRACT

Unipart Logistics has signed a new contract with Jaguar Land Rover to retain packing services for a further four years.

The contract provides work for around 100 colleagues at Unipart’s Honeybourne site in Worcestershire and Baginton site in Coventry and will run to the end of 2022.

The operation packs around 800,000 parts every month prior to them being put into storage and distributed across the Jaguar Land Rover global network.

Unipart Logistics started packing for Jaguar Land Rover in 2007 at the Honeybourne site. The service was extended to Baginton in 2010. Since then, the scope of Unipart’s service has grown to the point where the full range of Jaguar products are now packed.

Account Director Elizabeth Satinet said: “I’m delighted we have secured this contract at both Baginton and Honeybourne. The packer operation is a highly visible activity to a multitude of areas within the Jaguar Land Rover supply chain and requires significant collaboration with the customer.

“The team has really worked hard to streamline the processes using digital solutions to enhance the quality and efficiency of the service and enable us to win this four year contract”

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LKQ CONFERENCE FOCUSSES ON CHANGE MANAGEMENT

LKQ CONFERENCE FOCUSSES ON CHANGE MANAGEMENT

A conference between managers within the LKQ  Europe took place at Wembley recently with a focus on change management.

Nick Zarcone, CEO LKQ Corp. spoke at the conference

John Quinn, CEO of LKQ Europe, underlined the need for embracing the modern era: “It is clear we can’t assume the coming years will resemble the past because things are changing faster than ever before. We need to anticipate these opportunities and act. We all need to recognise the critical need to adapt and change as there is a massive opportunity for LKQ to actively shape the independent aftermarket for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders” he said.

The conference attendees agreed that the key to continued success is putting customers first through helping the customers understand and navigate the changing environment.

READ: HAMILTON APPOINTED NEW CEO OF EURO CAR PARTS

Arnd Franz, COO pointed out: “We need to offer our garage customers everything they need for a successful business – service, support, equipment and training on new issues arising from the technology shift. We have to grow LKQ in order to gain the scale effects required to provide our customers with solutions that will allow them to remain competitive. We need to support them with logistic networks that give them flexibility and speed for their customers. We need to equip them with brands and concepts upon which end-customers can rely”.

READ: ECP PARENT TO ACQUIRE STAHLGRUBER

Nick Zarcone, CEO of parent company LKQ Corporation, focused the executives’ attention on the fact that taking care of the employees will be as crucial as catering to the customers in the future: “We need to attract the best in class talent that embody our values. And we need to help our employees embrace the upcoming change while simultaneously keeping the customer the centre of attention”, he stated.

READ: ROBOTIC FUTURE OF STAHLGRUBER

In the UK, LKQ Europe is best known for Euro Car Parts and its body panels and paints business. On the continent the corporation also owns Sator Group, Rhiag Group, Elit, AutoKelly, and Stahlgruber, as well as a recycling specialist Atracco. It also holds a minority interest in publicly traded Mekonomen which is headquartered in Sweden.

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SCHAEFFLER REVENUES DOWN IN ‘PERSISTENTLY DIFFICULT’ MARKET

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. 

 

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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)

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