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HELLA RECORDS SHARP SALES DROP IN 2019

HELLA RECORDS SHARP SALES DROP IN 2019

Component firm Hella has released its financial figures for the first half of the financial year, revealing a significant drop in sales and earnings. 

From 1 June to 30 November 2019, Hella recorded a decline of 3.2 percent in currency and portfolio sales, and 6.7 percent in reported consolidated sales – a drop it attributes to the sale of its wholesale arm in 2018.

The sales shortfall resulted in a loss of €39 million (£33 million) year-on-year, with pre-tax earnings posted at €257 million (£220 million). Hella said: “This substantial reduction is largely due to extraordinary income booked in the prior year from the sale of the wholesale business.” 

READ: NEIL GRANT IS NEW MD AT HELLA

Another factor was a global reduction in new vehicle output. Hella sold 1.6 percent less products to vehicle manufacturers compared with the same period in 2019, but notes that it still “managed to outperform the broader market primarily based on strong demand for electronic products, particularly in energy management and sensors, and on strong business in the American market”.

The firm’s aftermarket division also suffered last year, with weakened demand in South West Europe and the Middle East contributing to a €13 million drop in reported sales. Sales to workshops were down as well, although the company considers this a result of especially strong sales in 2018, when a wave of new regulation was introduced.

Profitablity in the aftermarket was, however, improved, with cost optimisation strategies bringing pre-taxearnings up to €29 million from 2018’s €25 million. The operating profit margin was 9 percent, compared to 7.6 percent the year before.

READ: MAHLE AFTERMARKET ACQUIRES BEHR HELLA SERVICE

Commenting on the report, Hella CEO Dr Rolf Breidenbach predicted that recovery will be a long process. “The market environment remains very challenging. A strong, sustained recovery is not likely to emerge in 2020,” he said.

“However, we are still reaffirming our annual targets. We will vigorously capitalize on the current phase of market weakness to improve our competitiveness and continue investing in innovative solutions for the market trends of electrification and autonomous driving.”

 

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40 JOBS LOST AS TRICO CLOSES PONTYPOOL HUB

40 JOBS LOST AS TRICO CLOSES PONTYPOOL HUB

Windscreen wiper firm Trico is to close its Pontypool rework and distribution hub, marking the end of a near-100-year presence in the UK.

The closure leaves around 40 people out of a job, with the firm moving central distribution to Puurs in Belgium. General Manager for Trico Group Europe Eduardo Sanz said: “This was, of course, not an easy decision; however, we have to make strategic plans that are in the best interests of our

Skewfields site is now empty

customers and the future growth and sustainability of our business.”

READ: BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE

He added that moving to Belgium will ‘help to centralise’ distribution, and thanked the firm’s Pontypool workers for ‘their fantastic service’.

The Welsh site opened as a production facility in 1992, but has been used mainly for packing and rework for European products since 2006, when Trico downscaled its Wales operations as part of a cost-cutting initiative.

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LEVEN CARS GROUP CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

LEVEN CARS GROUP CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

Edinburgh-based dealership Leven Cars has gone bust following two years of ‘difficult trading conditions’.

Leven Cars endured ‘difficult trading conditions’

Stuart Robb and Michelle Elliot – of Leonard Curtis – were appointed Joint Administrators of Leven Cars Group Limited  on Tuesday 7th January.

The company which was incorporated in January 2014, has multiple car dealerships based in Edinburgh and Selkirk, including Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Lotus, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Caterham.

The Company, which employs 139 staff across its four dealerships, has ceased trading.  At this stage, none of the Company’s employees have been made redundant whilst the Administrators assess the Company’s financial position and explore the possibility of finding a buyer for all or parts of the business.

The Company will continue to maintain a presence at the Company’s dealerships for a short period of time to ensure that any customer queries can be addressed.

Joint Administrator, Stuart Robb commented: “We are currently assessing the Company’s financial position with a view to seeking a buyer for all or parts of the business.  This is a unique opportunity to acquire a business with a strong reputation, excellent customer base, and a highly knowledgeable and loyal workforce.”

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ROMAC ACQUIRED BY SUTTON AUTO FACTORS

ROMAC ACQUIRED BY SUTTON AUTO FACTORS

Romac branches feature traditional shop fronts

Parts distributor Sutton Auto Factors has acquired the four-branch Romac chain. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The four Romac stores in Heanor, Ripley, Spondon and Mickleover will continue, with no impact to the existing staff or customers, according to the new owner.

“Customers can expect to see the same faces, levels of service and customer care along with added value in choice, availability, quality and affordability”, says Andrew Wells, SAF General Manager. “We are delighted to welcome Romac into Sutton Auto Factors as we aim to achieve our goal of growth through offering the best available parts at the most competitive price.”

 The four Romac branches are traditional customer facing shop fronts. They join the existing network of SAF stores in Ilkeston, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Long Eaton, Bulwell, Colwick, Bingham and Ollerton.

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LKQ CORP. TO SELL TWO MOTOR FACTOR CHAINS

LKQ CORP. TO SELL TWO MOTOR FACTOR CHAINS

Chicago-based LKQ Corporation has announced the decision to sell two Czech wholesale automotive parts distributors to Swiss Automotive Group AG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In May 2018, the European Commission cleared LKQ’s acquisition of Stahlgruber GmbH, with the exception of Stahlgruber’s two wholesale businesses in the Czech Republic, which were referred for review to the Czech Competition Authority. Earlier this year, the Czech Competition Authority approved LKQ’s acquisition of the two Czech distributors, subject to certain divestiture conditions. LKQ subsequently decided to sell the entire equity interests of the two businesses. LKQ Europe will continue to operate its existing Auto Kelly a.s. and ELIT s.r.o. businesses in the Czech Republic.

Dominick Zarcone, President and Chief Executive Officer of LKQ, stated, “We appreciate the efforts of local management to build a successful business in the Czech Republic, and we are proud that we have found an outstanding new owner for it.”

LKQ expects to complete the sale in early 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals.

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WILLIAMSON: ‘THREATS NUMEROUS, LEGISLATION SCANT’

WILLIAMSON: ‘THREATS NUMEROUS, LEGISLATION SCANT’

Wendy Williamson, Chief Exec of industry body IAAF has opened the organisation’s annual conference with a warning for the aftermarket.

Addressing challenges relating to cyber security, VM data belligerence, supply challenges in the face of Brexit and a problem raised by car batteries being classified as ‘offensive weapons’ William said: “Today threats are numerous, but legislation scant”.

“But we will find  new ways,  to fit the parts and supply the tools and equipment top service maintain vehicles of tomorrow”. 

The conference continues 

 

 

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BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT

BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT

A significant legal case has been thrown out of court.

Klarius’ Cheadle site

Five directors of Staffordshire-based Klarius had been due to stand trial on charges of fraud at Manchester Crown Court, but it is understood by CAT that the judge did not find information provided admissible, apparently referring to a ‘shambolic failure’ in what was presented and found there was no case to answer.

The charges related to historic claims of ‘knowingly’ selling non type-approved emissions products.

UPDATE: KLARIUS ISSUE STATEMENT

READ: KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

READ: BREAKING: STATEMENT ISSUED BY KLARIUS DIRECTORS

 

 

 

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SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE

SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned  suppliers, has achieved the management system standard ISO14001:2015. 

The standard, which is in addition to the company’s ISO:9001 certification, applies to both its Nottingham and Poland facility. The new standard provides SMPE with an environmental management system framework in order to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner, contributing to greener sustainability, covering criteria including recycling, lower carbon footprint and waste reduction.

READ: New standard fixes child seat fitting fears

The updated 2015 standard includes the latest requirements relating to the context of the organisation, leadership, strategic environmental management, risk and opportunities, life-cycle perspective, performance evaluation and auditing.

Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “This achievement demonstrates both our professionalism and reliability as a company and signals to new and existing customers that SMPE is a perfect partner to do business with”. 

SMPE UK building

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ONE THIRD OF UK DRIVERS THINK EVS NEED AN OIL CHANGE

ONE THIRD OF UK DRIVERS THINK EVS NEED AN OIL CHANGE

A recent survey of 1903 UK drivers carried out by YouGov on behalf of The Motor Ombudsman found that 84 percent would not know where to take an EV for its annual service, and that just 12 percent were aware of the differences between services for EVs and conventionally fuelled vehicles.

The survey highlighted significant gaps in the population’s understanding of electric vehicles. Some 30 percent guessed that an EV service would comprise an oil change, 40 percent thought the air filter would be checked and 26 percent presumed their EV’s emissions output would be measured.

Bill Fennell, MD of The Motor Ombudsman, commented: “Sales of electric vehicles are fast gathering pace, and they all need to be serviced and maintained in accordance with recommended manufacturer guidelines.

Bill Fennell, MD of The Motor Ombudsman

“Our research showed that there was an inherent need to make it quicker and easier for repairers to make motorists aware that they can service electric vehicles, and for owners to be able to easily find a business where they can take their car in.”

READ: GOV. ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR EV CHARGING

In response to the findings, The Motor Ombudsman has upgraded its Garage Finder platform with a function that allows EV drivers to find their nearest appropriate technician.

The new search facility arrives as EVs begin to rapidly increase their market share on UK roads. Last month alone, one tenth of all new cars sold were hybrid or pure-electric.

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BOSCH TO ACQUIRE UNIPART CAR CARE CENTRES

BOSCH TO ACQUIRE UNIPART CAR CARE CENTRES

Industrial giant Bosch has announced its intention to acquire Unipart Group’s workshop programmes in the UK. These programmes include the Unipart Car Care Centres (UCCC), a network of independently run garages, the KiS online garage management software, which helps to organise all daily workshop activities, and the ‘Unipartner’ Consumer App. It is planned for all existing customer contracts to be transferred to Bosch. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“This acquisition perfectly fits with our growth strategy for the United Kingdom and Ireland”, Steffen Hoffmann, President Bosch UK and Ireland, said. “It is a significant step that increases our network of partner garages creating new sales channels for our automotive parts, diagnostics, and workshop services with these customers.”

Established in 1995, Uniparts’ Car Care Centre is one of the most recognised workshop programmes in the UK. Bosch will take over the marketing support and training services for the garages plus ensure access to Bosch’s full range of automotive parts, diagnostics and workshop services.

UCCC to become part of Bosch

Mike Ferris, Unipart International Managing Director said: “We’ve been working in close partnership with Bosch for many years on a number of joint initiatives and they share many of Unipart’s core values and principles. I am delighted that the Unipart Autoparts Garage Programmes will be transferring to a trusted business in Bosch who will further develop the programmes, whilst maintaining the needs of the garage and consumer at the forefront of their plans”

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