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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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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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