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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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LAND ROVER SPECIALIST BRITPART ACQUIRES ALLMAKES 4X4

LAND ROVER SPECIALIST BRITPART ACQUIRES ALLMAKES 4X4

Shropshire parts manufacturer Britpart has acquired the assets of rival off-road specialist Allmakes 4×4.

The Oxfordshire-based firm will now trade as Allmakes PR2 4×4 Ltd, with no change to its management team or staff. Financial details of the deal are unconfirmed, but Allmakes claims to hold roughly £7 million worth of Land Rover, Jeep and other off-road-related components at its 180,000sq ft warehouse. 

Picking stock at Allmakes 4×4

The purchase means Britpart (the trading name of Border Holdings Ltd) is also now the parent company to Allparts subsidiaries Frogs Island, a Land Rover repair specialist, and accessory supplier Terrafirma. 

Before the deal, 35 year-old Britpart supplied 28,000 Land Rover parts from its Craven Arms distribution centre to more than 1000 customers worldwide, ranging from trade outlets to government agencies. This latest development will significantly enhance its product offering in the sector. 

Paul Myers, Managing Director at Border Holdings Ltd, said: “We are confident that using the successful formula of supplying good quality parts at affordable prices with 1st class logistics will enable Allmakes PR2 4×4 to continue to grow.

“Border Holdings has committed to a successful long term future for the Abingdon site and all its employees.”

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TP CATS TO CEASE UK PRODUCTION

TP CATS TO CEASE UK PRODUCTION

Catalyst and DPF producer TP Engineering Ltd is to cease UK production of catalysts and  diesel particulate filters.

The firm, also known as TPCATS, is owned by Portugal-based emissions manufacturer Fabriscape. In a letter to customers seen by CAT, Fabriscape confirms that production at the Stoke-on-Trent works will end ‘with immediate effect’ and that production will resume in Portugal ‘once the missing production resources have been put in place’.

The letter said that a  finished stock and logistics team will remain on site so that orders can continue to be placed, but that ‘it is not possible to prevent some disruption and availability issues’ as production is moved. No reason was given in the letter for the abrupt cessation of production, with the letter simply saying that it was after ‘thoughtful consideration’.

The current time is a period of change for UK emission products manufacturing. Earlier this week, rival producer European Exhausts and Catalysts was found to be selling non-compliant DPFs and later this month another rival, Klarius Products is due to stand trial on a similar charge.

 

TP CATS Stoke on Trent HQ has closed

 

 

 

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HALFORDS ACQUIRES MCCONECHY’S FOR £9.3M

HALFORDS ACQUIRES MCCONECHY’S FOR £9.3M

Retail giant Halfords has acquired Scottish servicing chain McConechy’s in a deal worth £9.3 million.

McConechy’s is one of the UK’s largest servicing and MOT chains, employing roughly 330 people across 59 sites in Scotland and the north east of England. It is estimated to generate around £45 million in revenue, and will slot in alongside Halfords’ existing Autocentre, weFit and Mobile Expert servicing brands. 

The new deal has been described by Halfords boss Graham Stapleton as “highly complementary” to the firm’s existing range of product and service offerings. 

He added: “The vehicle servicing market is a £10 billion market, but one which remains highly fragmented, offering significant scope for Halfords’ trusted and recognised consumer brand to grow its market share considerably.”

READ: PROFITS SLUMP AT HALFORDS FOLLOWING MILD WINTER

The announcement comes as Halfords rounds up its half-year financial results, which reveal a 2.5 percent profit drop and 2.9 percent revenue decline in the six months leading up to 27 September. 

The company blames the losses on a “challenging retail backdrop and tough weather comparators year-on-year”, but also acknowledges that further financial damage was prevented by “strategic investment, gross margin improvements and tight cost control”. 

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EMISSION PARTS PRODUCER LOSES COMPLIANCE CASE

EMISSION PARTS PRODUCER LOSES COMPLIANCE CASE

A case described as a ‘landmark’ has been won by DVSA against a Hampshire-based emission parts manufacturer.

The ruling, described as the first of its kind, against EEC (European Exhaust and Catalyst Ltd) took place at Portsmouth Magistrates Court and concluded on Monday 28 October, resulted in a criminal conviction for the company and a £3,000 fine.

The court also ordered the company to pay costs totalling £10,460 and a statutory surcharge of £170.

READ: KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

The parts were diesel particulate filters and were supplied for Euro 5 vehicles when they were only approved for Euro 4 vehicles and did not have a label on the physical product containing the words: ‘ILLEGAL TO SUPPLY FOR VEHICLES APPROVED TO EC REGULATION 715/2007’.

DVSA’s Head of Vehicle Engineering, Neil Barlow said: “Motorists expect that replacement parts available on the aftermarket meet the right specifications for their car. This is the first successful prosecution of its kind. We hope it sends a clear message to other parts manufacturers and distributers that they must sell their products in line with the law or face prosecution.”

The offences relate to the supply of parts that were not approved for the vehicles for which they were supplied for and without the required legal markings.

The judge at the hearing commented that this was a very difficult case for sentencing as it was the first ever prosecution of its kind, but he wanted to bring home the seriousness of offences of this nature in light of emissions and the environment.

READ: ROW ERUPTS OVER CATALYST TYPE APPROVAL

Parts manufacturers and distributers must ensure their products meet the necessary standards and are correctly marked and approved for the vehicles or engine types that they are intended for.

 

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NTDA BOSS: ‘TOTAL BAN ONLY WAY’ FOR PART WORN TYRES

NTDA BOSS: ‘TOTAL BAN ONLY WAY’ FOR PART WORN TYRES

Stefan Hay, the Chief Executive of the National Tyre Distributors Assoc. has opened the annual conference by calling for a total ban on all part worn tyres, following a failure to enforce standards.

Stephan Hay calls for total ban on part-worn tyres

“Over the last two years I have been criticised on two counts” he said. “Firstly, by online trolls who call me some outrageous things. These trolls are actually fans of part worn tyres. Secondly, I’ve been criticised by scrap merchants who make a profit out of selling part-worn tyres”.

READ: FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

“These people have said that I’m only calling for a ban because I want to sell more tyres. Well, to the critics I say ‘you’re damn right’. Our members don’t sell part worn tyres, so of course we want to sell safe, legal tyres and I don’t make any apology for that. Our members have been campaigning for greater tyre safety since 1930, so why would I change position now?”

Hay continued: “In the past I have been criticised by non-NTDA members for  calling for a ban on illegal or non-compliant tyres, but not all part-worn tyres… Well, that’s a bit of a play on words. Of course our members want a ban on all part worn tyres, because at the moment lack of enforcement, and therefore compliance, meant that a shocking 99 percent of retailers inspected during Tyre Safety Month were not compliant with the regulations, and 75 percent of tyres inspected were dangerous. So, if we weren’t to ban all part worn tyres, what exactly would be left?”

The conference also included speakers from roadside recovery and vehicle lighting, and topics included safety, fraud and counterfeit protection as well as tax liability.

 

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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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OBITUARY: KEVIN SHORTIS 1939-2019

Accessory shop owner and entrepreneur Kevin Shortis has died following a short illness.

While he was involved in a number of businesses, Shortis will be best remembered by the aftermarket for his chain of accessory shops, latterly called Wilco Motosave.

Kevin Shortis 1939-2019

Shortis started work in the late 1950s as a teenager. Originally he worked for parts distributor Vic Moore Car Spares in Lancashire. “Back then there were no accessory shops. If you wanted something, you went to a garage. But they had to sell you the parts at the rate the manufacturer dictated” he told CAT in a 2010 interview.

Sensing a gap in the market, Shortis set up a shop aimed at DIY motorists. In an age where a new generation of first-time car owners liked to maintain and fit accessories to their vehicles, the business did well and before long several more branches were opened across East Anglia.  

Such success came to the attention of aftermarket magnate Quinton Hazell, who bought Shortis out. Shortis took a place on Hazell’s board, but the relationship was short lived due to the sale of QH to Burmah and in the mid 1970s he took the opportunity to buy several of his stores back.

Steady growth occurred in the decades that followed, with the acquisition of Leeds-based Motosave in 2004 more than doubling the size of the network.

In 2010 Shortis won the Lifetime Achievement trophy at the CAT Awards. However he never retired and continued to work in the business with his son Richard.

Kevin Shortis signed off the last email he sent to us at CAT with the words: “I never get bored, but since I started in the trade I reckon I’ve seen everything!”

He will be sorely missed by all that knew him.

 

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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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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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