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PROFITS SLUMP AT HALFORDS FOLLOWING MILD WINTER

PROFITS SLUMP AT HALFORDS FOLLOWING MILD WINTER

Halfords PLC, the company behind the retail chain and auto centres as well as specialist cycle shops Treadz and Cycle Republic, has announced its results for the year ending in March 2019.

Underlying profit before tax was down £12.8m on last year to £58.8m.

Halfords

Profits down at Halfords following a mild winter

Chairman Keith Williams noted a ‘disappointing fall in profit vs expectations’ which he put down to a mix of Brexit uncertainty and a mild winter. CEO Graham Stapleton expanded that the drop was also due to ‘weakened consumer confidence’ in the run up to Christmas, retail cost inflation as well as investment in ‘strategic opportunities’, such as the opening of a Boardman Performance Centre. The report also noted that operating costs both in retail and in the auto centres had increased, further reducing profitability.

However, it wasn’t all bad headlines for the retailer. Like-for-like cycle sales grew modestly, net debt was reduced by £6m to £81.8m and total Autocentres revenues were up £2.6 percent. Battery, bulb and blade fitting services at the retail outlets were also showing positive growth.

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IS THAT CLEAR?: JOHNSON CONTROLS TO BECOME ‘CLARIOS’

IS THAT CLEAR?: JOHNSON CONTROLS TO BECOME ‘CLARIOS’

Johnson Controls Power Solutions has been rebranded as ‘Clarios’. The new name for the battery arm formerly owned by Johnson Controls International comes some months after the business was acquired by private equity firm Brookfield Business Partners in a cash deal valued at $13.2 billion. According to a statement, Clarios intends to continue to provide automotive battery products and services, with a focus on new technology such as traction batteries for electric vehicles.

READ: GKN FIGHTS ‘OPPORTUNISTIC’ HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID

Johnson Controls Battery Technology becomes Clarios

“As a global leader with a product used in virtually every vehicle from conventional to fully electric, we are well positioned to capitalise on market trends, including a move toward more electrified and autonomous vehicles which are elevating the critical role of the battery and accelerating the need for more advanced batteries,” said Joe Walicki, President of Clarios. “Under Brookfield’s ownership, we can better capitalise on these growing trends and operate with more focus and efficiency.”

Clarios currently has 56 facilities worldwide with over 16,000 employees. It is best known in the UK for its Varta battery range. 

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OSRAM COMPLETES RING AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

OSRAM COMPLETES RING AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

Ring Automotive HQ

Lighting manufacturer Osram has completed on the deal to acquire Ring Automotive, following clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The proposed buyout was announced earlier this year, although details of the transaction have not been disclosed. Ring Automotive was previously owned by industrial investment firm Rubicon Partners.

George Skalski, Managing Director of Ring Automotive said of the deal:  “Being part of the Osram family offers us incredible opportunities for further global expansion. The synergies are enormous and will help us to continue our innovation leadership together. In the future, our customers will benefit from the many years of experience of both companies”.

“In addition to expanding our aftermarket portfolio, the acquisition of Ring will enable us to tap into additional sales potential and further expand our market expertise. The aim is to use the additional market and customer access and create synergies in the product portfolio and distribution channels,” said Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of Osram Automotive.

 

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CTEK EMPLOYEE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED ‘TRADE SECRETS’ THEFT FROM RIVAL

CTEK EMPLOYEE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED ‘TRADE SECRETS’ THEFT FROM RIVAL

An employee of battery charger firm CTEK has been arrested by Melbourne police over alleged theft of trade secrets at a recent trade show.

 The incident took place at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo held in Melbourne earlier this month. In a lawsuit filed in Ohio by the NOCO company, prosecutors allege that the employee stole a notebook containing sales strategy, contacts and other sensitive information.

 CCTV footage confirmed the theft and the man was detained by exhibition centre security until local police came and made a formal arrest.

“We want to thank on-site security, members of the AAAA, and MelbournePolice for their efforts in arresting the individual,” said Thomas Smith, Director of Public Relations on a press statement. 

Smith described the action as ‘evidence of a possible systematic corporate mandate’ to curtail the U.S firm’s growth, something CTEK denied, describing it as an ‘untrue allegation’.

While it accepts that the theft occurred, it said the actions were taken by a lone individual, no longer employed by the company.

In a statement, Jon Lind, Chief Executive at CTEK said: “There was an incident involving a CTEK employee at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo in Melbourne, Australia. That individual acted completely on his own, and in disregard of [our] Code of Conduct and instructions. This was an isolated incident by a person acting at his own behest. This person is no longer employed or otherwise associated with CTEK”.

The statement added that the company has ‘zero tolerance for dishonest conduct against competitors or any other business partners’

 In the lawsuit, NOCO is seeking damages and hopes to obtain ‘injunctive protection against the use or dissemination of its trade secrets’  by CTEK.

 

 

  • Updated April 23 to include response from CTEK

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1,200 JOBS AXED AT MANN+HUMMEL IN GLOBAL RESTRUCTURE

1,200 JOBS AXED AT MANN+HUMMEL IN GLOBAL RESTRUCTURE

Filtration manufacturer Mann+Hummel has announced today (April 11) that the company is planning a worldwide reduction of ‘about 1,200’ jobs with ‘up to’ 300 jobs lost from German locations.

However, the company has said that direct production will not be affected by the downsizing, which was mooted in a global cost restructuring programme announced in Februrary.

“We will continue to invest heavily in our business segments transportation and Life Science & Environment and see the planned staff reductions as part of a global initiative to short the company and to position long-term competitiveness” explained Werner Dear Lord, President and CEO.

Consultations with staff and unions have begun and the company anticipates a ‘timely completion’ of the restructuring programme.

Mann+Hummel US HQ

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SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

In a strongly worded statement, SMMT Chief Exec Mike Hawes has said that it is ‘utterly unacceptable’ that no clear vision for Brexit has yet emerged.

“While we’ve avoided a ‘no deal’ Brexit on Friday, it is utterly unacceptable that, more than two years since negotiations started, industry still does not know what the UK’s relationship with the EU will be in the coming weeks and months” he wrote.

BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE

“Uncertainty has already caused serious damage – car plants are on enforced shutdown, investment has been cut and jobs lost. This cannot go on. Government and Parliament must use this extension  purposefully to take ‘no deal’ off the table for good, and guarantee a positive long-term resolution that delivers frictionless trade. If they fail, we face yet another devastating ‘no deal’ precipice on 31 October”.

BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and employs, directly and indirectly, over a million people.

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TRICO ACQUIRES CHAMPION WIPERS

TRICO ACQUIRES CHAMPION WIPERS

Wiper blade manufacturer Trico has acquired the global  Federal-Mogul Motorparts wiper and wiper systems business.

READ: TENNECO ACQUIRES FEDERAL MOGUL

Adam Richards, European MD, Trico said: “This represents a fantastic and hugely exciting strategic opportunity to accelerate technology capabilities, expand global wiper manufacturing and distribution, and further strengthen our wiper blade and wiper system capabilities.

“Both the Champion and Trico brand remain available to the aftermarket – at the moment it’s “business as usual” with FM distribution centres §continuing to supply Champion products, however we are working hard on integration plans for our existing UK facility and will be in touch with all customers with further information soon.”

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EXCEL AUTOMOTIVE GROUP ACQUIRED BY AUTOELECTRO BOSS

EXCEL AUTOMOTIVE GROUP ACQUIRED BY AUTOELECTRO BOSS

Component supplier Excel Automotive Group (EAG) has been acquired by Sancorp Ltd, a holdings company owned and operated by Autoelectro MD Tony Bhogal in partnership with his son Harry.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The company, originally known as Excel Components started in 2003 providing aftermarket steering and suspension components. The company changed hands in 2015 and was sold again in 2017 to TVS Ltd, the parent company of CV supplier Universal Components Ltd.

READ: JUST BOOTS ACQUIRED BY CONTINENTAL DIRECT

The most recent sale will see the company relocate to a new site in Leeds in due course. The Bhogals have appointed former EAG Sales Director Adrian Lamb to the role of Managing Director while Harry Bhogal will handle the day-to-day operations.

READ: AUTOELECTRO AND CAAR SIGN DEAL

Tony Bhogal

“I am delighted to be at the forefront of this new chapter in EAG’s history,” said Lamb. Thanking existing customers for their patience and support he added: “I believe the company has unfinished business, and while the industry has evolved significantly over the years, with the support of Tony and Harry, I am confident we can return the brand to its former glory – we’ll certainly give it a go.”

 

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KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

A charge of fraud  has been brought against five directors of Klarius by DVSA. The charge relates to the sale of non-approved catalytic converters between 2013 and 2015.

The directors entered a ‘not guilty’ plea at a short hearing in Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on April 1st.

The case has been listed for trial on November 18 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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‘SEMI SKILLED’ TECHNICIANS CONSIDERED BY DEALER GROUP

‘SEMI SKILLED’ TECHNICIANS CONSIDERED BY DEALER GROUP

VM-owned Ford dealer and garage network TrustFord is considering hiring ‘semi-skilled’ technicians to work on some of its vehicles to tackle a shortage of technicians and accelerate its apprenticeship scheme. 

READ: VMS IN EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER’S SIGHTS

TrustFord CEO Stuart Foulds said in an interview with Motor Trader magazine that the company is ‘exploring the possibility of using semi-skilled staff’, because ‘a lot of the work can be done by semi-skilled’ as opposed to fully-qualified technicians. 

The issue of training and retaining staff is familiar to some in the aftermarket. However, Peter Welch of Scotlands Ash Garage, who has discussed the issue in the past, is critical of TrustFord’s approach. “It would worry me because technology is getting more and more,” he said. “If they’re just changing oil and filters that’s a bit of a different thing, or fitting tyres or putting bulbs in. But if they’re doing proper servicing, well, perhaps main dealers don’t do much more than that.” 

Foulds also mentioned in the interview how the group offers one-hour servicing without appointment, which is possible by having three technicians working on one car at the same time. 

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