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BOSAL CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

BOSAL CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

Preston-based emissions parts manufacturer Bosal has called in the administrators.

Julien Irving and Andrew Poxon of Leonard Curtis Business Rescue and Recovery will attempt to find a buyer for the firm, properly called Bosal Automotive and Industrial Components (BAIC) ltd. 

In January this year Bosal sold off its aftermarket tow bar and automotive carrier and protection system businesses to TowerBrook Capital Partners as part of a restructuring programme that the company had called ‘Grow-Fix-Divest’. At the time, the company boasted of a ‘sound financial position’ and said it was going to use the (undisclosed) proceeds to clear all senior debt and to invest in the exhaust division.

However, a notice in the London Gazette confirmed that administrators had been appointed on June 5th.

The company previously went into administration in 2013. At the time it blamed competition from Eastern Europe and long-lasting stainless steel reducing the frequency of exhaust replacements. It also blamed its own former employees, who took it to court over redundancy payments. The company later bought itself out of administration.

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PEOPLE NEWS: SUKHBIR KAPOOR APPOINTED CEO OF DIGRAPH

PEOPLE NEWS: SUKHBIR KAPOOR APPOINTED CEO OF DIGRAPH

CV factor Digraph, has announced the appointment of Sukhbir Kapoor as Chief Executive Officer.

Kapoor brings with him a wealth of industry experience. He helped expand the Euro Car Parts network to over 300 branches, having held several senior management positions within product and marketing, logistics, supply chain and branch operations.  Prior to moving to the UK, Sukhbir’s career started at Gabriel, ArvinMeritor and latterly Federal Mogul Corporation based in India, Singapore and the USA.

Chairman of Digraph, Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, said: “Sukhbir is a key appointment in the future growth of Digraph. As a business, Digraph is renowned for its outstanding customer service and willingness to go the extra mile for customers. We are working hard to maintain this ethos while growing the business through existing industry connections and resource.

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NGK BECOMES SHAREHOLDER OF TECALLIANCE

NGK BECOMES SHAREHOLDER OF TECALLIANCE

Ignition giant NGK Spark Plug has become a shareholder of aftermarket data firm TecAlliance.

TecAlliance’s portfolio includes international vehicle and product data, repair and maintenance information, the TecDoc catalogue, data management and analytics as well as consultancy services n.

Damien Germès, Senior Vice President EMEA at NGK Spark Plug in Europe confirmed: “To become a shareholder of TecAlliance is a strategic decision and investment. We fully understand how essential it is for aftermarket distributors and workshops to have high-quality, instant data in a fast-changing market where digital solutions are becoming of vital importance. This investment is another demonstration of our commitment to continuously serving and supporting the independent aftermarket”.

“We are pleased to welcome as a new shareholder such an important player from the field of vehicle electronics”, emphasised Jürgen Buchert, Managing Director of TecAlliance. “This is another step towards our continuous goal to optimise and deepen the quality of our data and tailor-made solutions for a digital automotive aftermarket.”

 

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DIGRAPH TO OPEN 16 NEW SITES

DIGRAPH TO OPEN 16 NEW SITES

CV factor Digraph is set to open 16 new branches in the next six months as part of a growth strategy described as ‘aggressive’. This will be in addition to several acquisitions of similar businesses and expansion of existing branches.

The move follows significant investment in the company by Euro Car Parts as well as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia and James Rawson. The expansion could create and create 164 jobs.

The new outlets are in various locations across the UK, stretching from Glasgow to Crawley. At this point it is unconfirmed if the new locations will be from LKQ’s existing portfolio, newly acquired sites, or a mix of the two.

The strategy doesn’t seem to phase the management team.  Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia commented: “Locations, stock and logistics are relatively straightforward – indeed we once opened 12 Euro Car Parts branches in a single day. Our challenge is to find the right people and partners to join us in delivering our vision of market-leading customer service … nationwide. We are building our new branches around the best team players”.

“We are shaking up the industry in other ways too, with major investment in stock ranges, accelerated delivery speeds and added-value programmes, as we continue to build the UK’s most powerful team.”

Branch expansions and upgrades are happening in Gloucester, Northampton, Nuneaton and Stoke. The Northwich branch is relocating to larger premises in Ellesmere Port which will greatly increase stock holding and give improved deliveries to the customer base.

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GKN FIGHTS ‘OPPORTUNISTIC’ HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID

GKN FIGHTS ‘OPPORTUNISTIC’ HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID

UK engineering company GKN is under threat from a hostile takeover from investment house Melrose Industries.  

Melrose  has made an unsolicited offer to shareholders to  acquire the entire issued share capital of GKN for 1.49 new Melrose shares and 81 pence in cash per share.

Melrose is known for turning engineering companies around and under the strapline ‘buy, sell, improve, sell’ it attempts to add value to the brands it acquires before selling them on, in a similar vein to a private equity. It’s website states it “finances acquisitions using a low level of leverage, improves the businesses by a mixture of investment and changed management focus, sells them and returns the proceeds to shareholders”.

However, the management of GKN do not want to sell to Melrose. In a letter to shareholders GKN Chairman Mike Turner blasts the approach as ‘entirely opportunistic’ and ‘low price and high risk’ before barbing: “Your board believes that Melrose is more focused on financial engineering than real engineering”.

“GKN is six times the size of Melrose’s largest acquisition and your Board believes that Melrose’s management team lacks relevant experience at Board level in several critical areas” wrote Turner, adding that he doen’t believe that Melrose has the necessary relationships with VMs and aircraft makers to make a success of the business. “Cars and aircraft are researched, designed, produced and serviced over several decades – your Board believes that a short term, private equity-style strategy is not the right way to provide sustained shareholder value in our sectors” he said.

GKN said in an earlier letter to shareholders that it would sell non-core assets and return £2.5bn to shareholders in response to the offer. 

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CAT AWARDS HELD IN MANCHESTER

CAT AWARDS HELD IN MANCHESTER

The sky cleared and the sun shone for the 2018 CAT Awards, sponsored by Automechanika Birmingham, held in the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for the second year.

Over 120 aftermarket professionals gathered to enjoy the networking lunch and to find out who scooped a trophy.

The winners are as follows:

Large Garage of the Year (sponsored by Haynes Pro): Motoserv UK

Independent Garage of the Year (sponsored by Euro Repar Car Service): AAK auto Services

Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Haynes): Wrexham Motoring Supplies

Factor Team of the Year (sponsored by Breck): Bridgend Motor Factor

Factor Chain of the Year (sponsored by Boswell Insurance): AutoParts UK

Supplier of the Year (sponsored by PG Automotive): NGK

Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Noco): Terry Wainwright

 

Full coverage of the event will be included in the March issue of CAT.

CAT Awards Winners 2018

 

 

 

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BREAKING: ECP MANAGEMENT ISSUE STATEMENT ON ANDREW PAGE CLOSURES

BREAKING: ECP MANAGEMENT ISSUE STATEMENT ON ANDREW PAGE CLOSURES

LATEST: Regarding yesterday’s CAT story on a number of Andrew Page branches that were suddenly closed, the following written statement has been issued by a Euro Car Parts spokesman:

“We can confirm that we have closed 10 Andrew Page branches, following the completion of a recent business operational review by the Andrew Page Management team.  There are no plans to close any further Andrew Page branches. We are currently working with employees at affected branches to look for alternative options within the ECP or Andrew Page network, and working closely with customers of these affected branches.”

Andrew Page is the nation’s oldest factor brand, having celebrated its centenary in 2017. The company briefly went into administration in 2016 before being bought by Euro Car Parts in 2016. 

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BREAKING: ANDREW PAGE BRANCH CLOSURES

BREAKING: ANDREW PAGE BRANCH CLOSURES

Ten branches of Andrew Page have been closed.

 

Carlisle and Ellesmere port closed last week. Cardiff, Peterborough, Kettering, Shrewsbury,Chesterfield and three others closed on Monday. Calls we made to affected branches diverted to a nearby Euro Car PArts.  Meanwhile, managers from other branches took part in conference call on Tuesday.  

 

In a written statement, a spokesman for ECP said: “We can confirm that we have closed 10 Andrew Page branches, following the completion of a recent business operational review by the Andrew Page Management team.  There are no plans to close any further Andrew Page branches. We are currently working with employees at affected branches to look for alternative options within the ECP or Andrew Page network, and working closely with customers of these affected branches.”

 

Andrew Page was bought by the parent company of rival Euro Car Parts in 2016 immediately after the former went into administration. Following a lengthy investigation by the  Competition and Markets Authority, nine depots were proscribed to be closed in the interest of not ‘significantly reducing competition’

 

Interestingly, none of the branches closed over the past week were on the CMA list. Liphook, Scunthourpe, Wakefield and York were on the list, but remain on the company’s depot finder.

Note: This story has been updated to include the statement from ECP

 

 

 

Andrew Page closes branches

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TRADE CONNECTIONS KEEP OBD PORT OPEN

TRADE CONNECTIONS KEEP OBD PORT OPEN

The latest rumblings from Europe are that the OBD port will remain to be fitted to vehicles, even in the age of ‘over the air’ diagnostics and software updates.

Lobbying from various trade groups, both in the UK and on the Continent have persuaded the EU council’s main preparatory body has agreed that the socket should remain.

All is not plain sailing however. There is still the possibility of the legislation being vetoed as it has to be voted on by both the EU Parliament and the EU Council, plus the ruling states that the port only has to work ‘when the vehicle is in motion’, meaning VMs could still get around key-on-engine-off diagnostics.

The IAAF was one of the trade bodies involved in the negotiations. Chief Executive Wendy Williamson said: “This is fantastic news, and although not the end game it’s a significant step towards keeping the OBD port alive.

“The missing OBD connector would impact not just on garages but the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of consumers who would no longer have a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair.”

The agreement will now need to be approved by the EP IMCO Committee before it is submitted for approval. If approved by the European Parliament, the new regulation will come into play from 1 September 2020.

 

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100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES

100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES

A hundred management, admin and support roles are to go at the AA, plus the closure of the National Training Centre at Melton Mobray, according to documents seen today by CAT. Roadside patrols will not be affected.

In a memo to staff dated January 10 2018, the AA said: “We are today announcing a series of proposals involving restructuring of management and administration in a number of functions across the AA, with the exception of our frontline delivery teams in roadside operations and contact centres”. The memo added that the proposals are aimed at ‘reorganising and focusing accountability on our emerging strategic priorities’, as well as reducing ‘layers of management’ in order to reduce cost to fund frontline services.

Formed in Edwardian times, the AA has been struggling with the level of debt for years. In 2007 private equity group Acromas bought the company, but sold it in 2014 in a complex ‘accelerated float’ management buy-in, with £1bn of backing from 10 investors. The company was publically listed, but saddled with £2.7bn of debt. Share value dropped in August 2017 following the firing of Chief Executive Bob Mackenzie for gross misconduct.

Paul Grafton, Regional Organiser for the GMB Union said; “The closure of national training centre will reduce structured training and in our view impact on quality of service delivered by the patrol force”.

“All these cuts are a direct result of the unsustainable levels of debt left by the previous private equity owners” he said, adding: “It looks as if the latest activity is to squeeze the last drop out of the business before franchising”.

Figures show that the costs of financing the debts are £185m per annum in the last published accounts. Servicing the debt took up 66 percent of the Operating Profit of £284m for the year ending 31st January 2017.

In addition, the union says that the AA’s pension deficit is £622m, which in pound note terms is nearly double the £345m deficit that brought the demise of BHS.

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