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HALFORDS INTERIM RESULTS: MODEST GROWTH IN ‘CHALLENGING CONDITIONS’

HALFORDS INTERIM RESULTS: MODEST GROWTH IN ‘CHALLENGING CONDITIONS’

Retail chain Halfords has published interim results for 2018. This will be the first set of results released since CEO Jill McDonald finished working out her notice at the end of October.

The group published modest growth in most areas, during what it described as ‘challenging conditions’, citing the weak pound and disappointing summer weather as reasons for gross margin to be weaker than it could be.

Like-for-like sales in car accessories were down two percent, which the group blamed on the continuing slide in the sale of sat-navs (which now make up around three percent of accessory sales, down from a high of 20 percent). The results were offset to some extent by the continued growth in dashcam sales.

The number of pushbikes sold was lower than the previous period, but the sector still recorded growth as the bikes had a higher average price, helped in no small part by the increase in popularity of e-bikes, which are now available across the chain’s network. The report also mentioned that two new Cycle Republic stores opened during the period.

Jonny Mason, Chief Financial Officer & Interim Chief Executive Officer, commented: “It is pleasing to report positive sales growth for this period, despite the poorer summer weather and the uncertainty in the UK economy. We are also pleased with our profit performance in the half, as we offset a large part of the (circa) £15m increase in costs that resulted from the impact of the weaker pound. Looking ahead, we have strong plans both in-store and online for the Cyber, Christmas and winter peaks.”

Ex-Dixons Carphone boss, Graham Stapleton has been hired as the new CEO and is expected to start in January.

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VALEO COMPLETES FTE AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

VALEO COMPLETES FTE AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

Parts maker Valeo has completed the acquisition of actuator firm FTE Automotive, having received clearances from the European Commission and the Turkish Competition Authority. All FTE employees will transfer to Valeo.

Valeo says that the acquisition will allow it to expand its offering of active hydraulic actuators, a fast-growing market that has benefited from the rise of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “With the acquisition of FTE Automotive, Valeo is positioning itself as the technological leader on the actuators market and thereby consolidating its CO2 emissions reduction strategy. This acquisition will help strengthen Valeo’s Powertrain Systems business. We are happy to welcome FTE’s 3,800 employees to the Valeo Group.”

In 2016, FTE Automotive generated sales of around 550 million euros. The company has more than 3,800 employees and a diversified manufacturing footprint in eight countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Mexico and China.

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BREAKING: NINE AP BRANCHES MUST BE SOLD TO ‘PURCHASER APPROVED BY CMA’

BREAKING: NINE AP BRANCHES MUST BE SOLD TO ‘PURCHASER APPROVED BY CMA’

In a statement released by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Euro Car Parts must now ‘sell a depot in each of these areas to a purchaser approved by CMA, so that customers don’t lose out’.

ECP bought most of the Andrew Page business in October 2016, after the latter went into administration.

A group of independent CMA panel members identified nine areas in England where the both companies were close competitors and where the merger could ‘significantly reduce competition’ for local customers.

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

Professor Alasdair Smith, Inquiry Chair, said: “Following an in-depth investigation, we have found that this merger has the potential to drive up prices or reduce levels of service for customers in 9 local areas. That’s why we are requiring a depot in each area to be sold to a buyer approved by the CMA”.

“Outside of these areas, we did not find that the merger will further reduce competition compared to what would have happened if Euro Car Parts had not purchased Andrew Page”.

The nine affected areas are: Blackpool, Brighton, Gloucester, Liphook, Scunthorpe, Sunderland, Wakefield, Worthing and York. Swindon had also been identified during the provisional findings stage, but new evidence came to light which resulted in the group deciding that competition would not be affected in this area.

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BREAKING: ECP/ANDREW PAGE CMA FINAL REPORT PUBLISHED

BREAKING: ECP/ANDREW PAGE CMA FINAL REPORT PUBLISHED

Breaking news: CMA has published its final report on the ECP takeover of Andrew Page.

You can read the full report here

Statement from ECP“Euro Car Parts welcomes today’s decision by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to give approval to its proposed acquisition of Andrew Page, subject to the divestment of nine branches*. 

Euro Car Parts bought most of the Andrew Page business in October 2016, after the company went into administration. Euro Car Parts supports the CMA’s conclusion that “The group did not consider that larger national or multi-regional customers would be adversely affected by the merger”. 

Sukhpal Singh, Chairman of LKQ UK & ROI, commented “We are genuinely thrilled the future of the Andrew Page business has been secured, which celebrates its UK centenary this year. We remain committed to assuring that the Andrew Page ‘brand’ continues to thrive and remains separate from Euro Car Parts, but will benefit from our UK infrastructure, inventory and the financial support from the LKQ Corporation. 

“We very much hope that customers of Andrew Page will continue to support the business, and we will partner with them to ensure that the company’s proposition continues to meet their current and future requirements in the way they have come to rely upon and cherish. 

“I would like to thank all Andrew Page colleagues for their professionalism, with total focus on serving their customers during a challenging time. We wish to reassure them that we are committed not just to retaining them but to investing in their long-term progression and development.” 

Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, stated: “Euro Car Parts will continue to work with the CMA to bring this process to a conclusion and will update as appropriate.  We are delighted that approval has been clarified. This will provide welcome direction and confirmation for our customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders.” 

*The 9 branches are: Blackpool, Brighton, Gloucester, Liphook, Scunthorpe, Sunderland, Wakefield, Worthing and York. Swindon had also been identified during the provisional findings stage, but new evidence came to light which resulted in the group deciding that competition would not be affected in this area.”

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EQUIPAUTO 2017 UNDERWAY

EQUIPAUTO 2017 UNDERWAY

The biennial Equipauto exhibition is currently underway in Paris.

Official visitor figures are not available until after the show, but the organiser has indicated that it is pleased with the number of visitors, with a figure of 100,000 indicated on a pre-show communication.

Highlights of the fringe have included a number of discussions (in French) on the subjects of the connected car and the future of the aftermarket, while the show itself has played host to a number of presentations and launches from the likes of Hella, AAG France, Falken Tyres and Federal Mogul.

A Grand Prix D’Or was held to celebrate innovations in service and garage equipment. Bosch won trophies in three out of eight possible categories with awards also being taken by Hella France, ENV4, Mixplast and Robot-Wash.

Look out for a full report in November issue CAT.

 

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CMA LATEST: FACTORS RESPONSES TO PROVISIONAL REPORT PUBLISHED

CMA LATEST: FACTORS RESPONSES TO PROVISIONAL REPORT PUBLISHED

Following the publication of a draft report relating to the takeover of Andrew Page by Euro Car Parts, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has received detailed responses by three motor factors. As expected ECP responded to the points raised in the report while the Parts Alliance and Motor Parts Direct also aired their views and discussed what requirements they might have for any branches that are being divested in documents published today (Weds, 11 October).

ECP agreed with the report’s conclusion, which stated that most of Andrew Page would have closed for good, had it not been for the takeover. However it disagreed with various parts of the report, including a paragraph about dealerships and specialist one-marque distributors, which the CMA acknowledges that it ‘entirely misstates ECP’s position with respect to competition from OEM and specialist suppliers’.

All the documents can be read here, under the cross-heading ‘Response hearing summaries’.

The deadline for the final report to be published is November 5.

 

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BREAKING: THE PARTS ALLIANCE ACQUIRES BBC SUPERFACTORS

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’

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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SUKHPAL AND LKQ: ‘SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT’ IN HGV FACTOR CHAIN

SUKHPAL AND LKQ: ‘SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT’ IN HGV FACTOR CHAIN

Truck part supplier Digraph Transport Supplies has been acquired in a joint deal between LKQ Corporation and Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The move is significant as it marks the first time that both the founder of Euro Car Parts and the corporation that now own it have embarked on a deal as joint investors.

14-branch Digraph will retain all current employees and James Rawson will remain as MD. Rawson has also made an investment in the business.

CAT spoke briefly to Sukhpal to confirm the deal had taken place. He said that the ‘fragmented’ state of the HGV parts market lead it to being an area considered for expansion into for some time and that Digraph was the best fit in terms of matching ECPs ‘sales and customer service ethic’.

In a statement to his team, James Rawson said: “This investment will enable Digraph to access to the resources we need to grow the business and implement our expansion plans. We will work closely with ECP to enhance customer service levels. I am thrilled to be working with Sukhpal and taking up the challenge of extending the Digraph service to customers throughout the UK.”

In related news, Sukhpal has extended his three-year contract with ECP, retaining his position as Executive Chairman.

 

 

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AAG MAKES FURTHER ACQUISITION

AAG MAKES FURTHER ACQUISITION

Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), the parent company of GroupAuto, has acquired one of Germany’s largest independent factors. Terms of the deal have not yet been announced.

Klapper is a full-line motor factor with its headquarters in Bünde and supplies over 1,000 customers, most of which are independent garages. The  East Westphalia company generates turnover of over €7 million. The deal follows the acquisition of three other factor chains in the West of the country, strengthening AAG’s position.  Klapper CEO, Andreas Klapper will retain his position under the new ownership.

“We are delighted to welcome Klapper Autoteile GmbH Co. KG as the newest member of the AAG organisation,” added Jean-Jaques Lafont, CEO and co-founder of AAG. “With now four companies in Germany – Coler, Busch, Büge and Klapper –, we have established a successful network in the west of the country and intend to continue this growth strategy across the rest of Germany.”

AAG is headquartered in London and is itself part of the Blackstone equity group.

 

 

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