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FORD TO CLOSE HALF OF UK DEALERSHIPS

FORD TO CLOSE HALF OF UK DEALERSHIPS

Ford is set to close around 50 percent of its UK dealerships as it embarks on a bold strategy to streamline its commercial operations.

The move, which was announced at an investor conference today (26 January), is part of the ‘Ford 2025 dealer plan’ which the brand says hopes will build “a stronger and more sustainably profitable Ford sales and servicing network”. Between 210 and 230 stores are expected to be affected.

It is hoped that the majority of the affected dealers will remain in operation as dedicated aftersales hubs, and the firm anticipates that 90 percent of new car buyers will still be able to reach a dealership within 30 minutes.

Some of Ford’s smaller UK dealerships will be converted into standalone service centres, with Ford claiming that “customers will not be unduly inconvenienced” by the shake-up.

An official Ford statement read: “We are working together in a spirit of partnership with our dealers and their investors to build a stronger and more sustainably profitable Ford sales and servicing network for the future in the UK, which works for the mutual benefit of our businesses and for our commercial and passenger vehicle customers.”

It is the largest consolidation of a VM dealer network in UK to date, and follows similar downsizing initiatives at Honda and Vauxhall. Despite heavy restructuring over the last 20 years, Ford has concluded that “dealer network profitability is still not sustainable”.

READ: SCOTTISH DEALERSHIP SALE SAVES 101 JOBS

Vehicle manufacturers are gradually exploring new ways of selling new cars. Last year saw Volvo launch the ‘UK’s most comprehensive’ online car sales service, while Mercedes activated a new digital showroom this week, which provides real-time stock availability data and a finance quote function.

At the beginning of 2019, Ford revealed the first details of its overhauled European business strategy as part of a $14bn drive to cut costs globally.

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TETROSYL REVEALS CARLUBE-SPONSORED BTCC RACER

TETROSYL REVEALS CARLUBE-SPONSORED BTCC RACER

Carlube’s racer will gain the brand exposure on national TV

Tetrosyl-owned lubricant brand Carlube will make its return to the British Touring Car Championship this season, as the chief sponsor of the Carlube Triple R Racing team.

The team, previously known as Ciceley Motorsport, will for the first time be running two cars in the same livery with experienced drivers Dan Rowbottom and Adam Morgan at the wheel. 

Carlube’s logo will be flanked by those of chemical brand Cataclean and Mac Tools. Speaking at the car’s unveiling, Team Principal Norman Burgess said it has been “a massive job” to obtain sponsorship deals with a group of such well-known brands.

READ: JAMES BRIGGS LTD ACQUIRED BY TETROSYL

He acknowledged that having a pair of cars ‘offers not only double exposure for our sponsors but also increases our chances of scoring points in the teams’ championship’. 

Burgess explained that the sponsorship package is doubly significant because of the team’s relatively small size. “We are a family team, there’s six of us full-time,” he explained, noting that it’s a landmark achievement ‘for a little team like us to have 3 major players’. 

He noted that the physical logos on the side of a racing car are becoming less and less important, as fans begin to engage more with social media and digital publicity campaigns. The BTCC is, however, a potentially significant platform for the Tetrosyl brand, given its primetime slot on ITV 4 and national reach.

Tetrosyl Group Chairman Peter Schofield was on hand to explain why the partnership is so important to his brand, which has long been known for its ties to national motorsport efforts: “I am delighted to return the Carlube Triple R brand to BTCC and to team up with Ciceley Motorsport, Cataclean and Mac Tools.

“We are all aware of the benefits that the BTCC brings with huge trackside audiences and massive television coverage and fan appeal so it is the perfect shop window for us. I am looking forward to a very successful relationship.”

Carlube has recently undergone a significant brand refresh, with overhauled packaging, colour-coded bottles and easier-to-read part numbers. There are also a number of new references available in response to increased market demand. 

Tetrosyl’s International Marketing Director Chris Chaplin said: “Our return to the BTCC signals our full commitment to the Carlube Triple R brand and our intention to continue to fully support our loyal distribution partners.”

 

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HONESTJOHN.CO.UK BOUGHT OUT OF ADMINISTRATION

Motoring website honestjohn.co.uk has been bought out of administration by used car buying platform Heycar.

The deal was led by Miles Needham and Simon Carvill-Biggs, partners at specialist business advisory firm FRP in St Albans, following their appointment as Joint Administrators on January 7th . Terms have not been announced. 

The new owner insists that readers of honestjohn need not be alarmed by developments. “The independence and strong reputation has been earned through the years and brings great value – just some of the many reasons that this was such an attractive opportunity” said Matt Moakes, CEO of Heycar UK.

“We will maintain this independence through the formation of a clear editorial code between the two brands, continuing the impartial tone the millions of website visitors and tens of thousands of newsletter subscribers expect. Users of the Honest John forum will not notice any difference.”

 

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HAYNES PUBLISHING ACQUIRED BY INFOPRO DIGITAL

HAYNES PUBLISHING ACQUIRED BY INFOPRO DIGITAL

Technical data company InfoPro Digital has reached a deal to acquire Haynes Publishing Group for cash. 

The transaction is valued at £114.5m with shareholders to receive 700p per share. Haynes put itself up for sale last November, with Eddie Bell, Chairman of the Haynes Board, saying: “The Board now believes our future will be best secured by the whole Group becoming part of an organisation with the financial resources to invest for future expansion and take the Company through to the next 60 years of success.”

READ: FULL MARKET STATEMENT

Commenting on the acquisition this morning, Eddie Bell said: “Haynes has made a highly successful strategic transition to become one of the leading suppliers of content, data and innovative workflow solutions for the automotive industry and motorists. Its strategy and operational execution over the past five years have translated into strong financial performance and shareholder value creation. The Haynes Board believes that the markets it serves have great potential for Haynes’ future growth and development, and that a combination with Infopro Digital will provide Haynes with the scale, capabilities and resources to ensure that it stays at the forefront of these markets and maximises its potential. The proposal from Infopro Digital reflects these opportunities and represents an attractive opportunity for Haynes Shareholders to crystallise an immediate and certain value in cash for their shareholdings, at a significant premium to current and historical share price trading levels.”

READ: HAYNES PUT UP FOR SALE

Commenting on the Acquisition, Christophe Czajka, Founder and Executive Chairman of Infopro Digital, said: “At Infopro Digital we have long respected Haynes’ spirit of innovation and its reputation for excellence. With a deeply complementary product set and geographic footprint, the combined companies have an opportunity to serve our clients more effectively and to build on both organisations’ history of creating innovative, transformative products that the automotive industry has come to value. We are committed to working together to create a company that will continue to help define the future of automotive data.”

Shareholders will vote on the proposed deal in meetings to be held in March and April.

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BREAKING: INFOPRO TO ACQUIRE HAYNES PUBLISHING

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OF SUCH JURISDICTION 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION 

13 February 2020 

RECOMMENDED CASH ACQUISITION 

of 

Haynes Publishing Group P.L.C. (“Haynes”) 

by 

Infopro Digital (Holdco) Ltd (“Bidco”) a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infopro Digital Group B.V. (“Infopro Digital”) 

Summary 

  • The boards of Infopro Digital and Haynes are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Haynes by Bidco. The Acquisition is to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act. 
  • Under the terms of the Acquisition, Haynes Shareholders shall be entitled to receive 700 pence in cash for each Haynes Share held, representing a premium of approximately: 
  • 62.4 per cent. to the closing price per Haynes Share of 431.0 pence on 12 February 2020 (being the latest practicable date prior to publication of this Announcement); 
  • 72.8 per cent. to the closing price per Haynes Share of 405.0 pence on 14 November 2019 (being the latest practicable date prior to announcement of Haynes’ Formal Sale Process); 
  • 67.5 per cent. to the volume weighted average price per Haynes Share of 418.0 pence for the three month period ended 12 February 2020 (being the latest practicable date prior to publication of this Announcement); and 
  • 120.1 per cent. to the volume weighted average price per Haynes Share of 318.0 pence for the twelve month period ended 12 February 2020 (being the latest practicable date prior to publication of this Announcement). 
  • The Acquisition values the entire issued ordinary share capital of Haynes at approximately £114.5 million on a fully diluted basis. 
  • The Haynes Directors, who have been so advised by Europa Partners as to the financial terms of the Acquisition, unanimously consider the terms of the Acquisition to be fair and reasonable. In providing its advice to the Haynes Directors, Europa Partners has taken into account the commercial assessments of the Haynes Directors. Europa Partners is providing independent financial advice to the Haynes Directors for the purposes of Rule 3 of the Takeover Code. 
  • Accordingly, the Haynes Directors intend to recommend unanimously that Haynes Shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting as the Haynes Directors have irrevocably undertaken to do in respect of their own beneficial holdings (for the avoidance of doubt, not including the interests covered by the irrevocable undertakings of Family members and Family Settlements summarised directly below) of 79,671 Haynes Shares representing, in aggregate, approximately 0.5 per cent. of Haynes’ issued ordinary share capital (excluding all treasury shares). 
  • Infopro Digital and Bidco have also received irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting from Haynes Family members and Family Settlements in respect of a total of 11,115,608 Haynes Shares representing, in aggregate, approximately 73.5 per cent. of Haynes’ issued ordinary share capital (excluding all treasury shares). 
  • Infopro Digital and Bidco have also received irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting from CriSeren Investments Ltd and Stancroft Trust Ltd in respect of a total of 728,666 Haynes Shares representing, in aggregate, approximately 4.8 per cent. of Haynes’ issued ordinary share capital (excluding all treasury shares). 
  • In addition, Infopro Digital and Bidco have received a letter of intent from AXA Investment Managers UK Limited to vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting in respect of 450,000 Haynes Shares, representing, in aggregate, approximately 3.0 per cent. of Haynes’ issued ordinary share capital (excluding all treasury shares). 
  • Infopro Digital and Bidco have therefore received irrevocable undertakings or letters of intent in respect of a total of 12,373,945 Haynes Shares representing, in aggregate, approximately 81.8 per cent. of Haynes’ issued ordinary share capital (excluding all treasury shares). 
  • Further details of these irrevocable undertakings (and the circumstances in which they shall cease to be binding or otherwise fall away) and letters of intent are set out in Appendix III to this Announcement. 
  • The cash consideration payable by Bidco will be funded from existing cash resources of Infopro Digital. 

  • Raymond James, Infopro Digital’s financial adviser, is satisfied that sufficient resources are available to satisfy in full the cash consideration payable to Haynes Shareholders under the terms of the Acquisition. 

Timetable and Conditions 

  • The Acquisition shall be put to Haynes Shareholders at the Court Meeting and at the General Meeting. In order to become effective, the Scheme must be approved by a majority in number of the Haynes Shareholders voting at the Court Meeting, either in person or by proxy, representing at least 75 per cent. in value of the Haynes Shares voted. In addition, a special resolution implementing the Scheme must be passed by Haynes Shareholders representing at least 75 per cent. of votes cast at the General Meeting. 
  • The Acquisition is subject to the further conditions and terms set out in Appendix I to this Announcement. It is expected that the Scheme will become effective in April 2020. 
  • The Scheme Document, containing further information about the Acquisition and notices of the Court Meeting and the General Meeting, shall be published as soon as practicable and is currently expected to be posted to Haynes Shareholders in early March 2020. The Court Meeting and the General Meeting are expected to be held in March or April 2020. 

Commenting on the Acquisition, Eddie Bell, Chairman of the Haynes Board, said: 

“Haynes has made a highly successful strategic transition to become one of the leading suppliers of content, data and innovative workflow solutions for the automotive industry and motorists. Its strategy and operational execution over the past five years have translated into strong financial performance and shareholder value creation. The Haynes Board believes that the markets it serves have great potential for Haynes’ future growth and development, and that a combination with Infopro Digital will provide Haynes with the scale, capabilities and resources to ensure that it stays at the forefront of these markets and maximises its potential. The proposal from Infopro Digital reflects these opportunities and represents an attractive opportunity for Haynes Shareholders to crystallise an immediate and certain value in cash for their shareholdings, at a significant premium to current and historical share price trading levels.” 

Commenting on the Acquisition, Christophe Czajka, Founder and Executive Chairman of Infopro Digital, said: 

“At Infopro Digital we have long respected Haynes’ spirit of innovation and its reputation for excellence. With a deeply complementary product set and geographic footprint, the combined companies have an opportunity to serve our clients more effectively and to build on both organisations’ history of creating innovative, transformative products that the automotive industry has come to value. We are committed to working together to create a company that will continue to help define the future of automotive data.” 

This summary should be read in conjunction with the full text of this Announcement. The Acquisition shall be subject to the Conditions and further terms set out in Appendix I to this Announcement and to the full terms and conditions which shall be set out in the Scheme Document. Appendix II to this Announcement contains the sources of information and bases of calculation of certain information contained in this Announcement, Appendix III contains a summary of the irrevocable undertakings and letters of intent received in relation to the Acquisition and Appendix IV contains definitions of certain expressions used in this summary and in this Announcement. 

Enquiries: 

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EDF ACQUIRES CHARGING FIRM POD POINT

EDF ACQUIRES CHARGING FIRM POD POINT

Energy company EDF has acquired electric vehicle charger supplier Pod Point for an undisclosed sum, as part of a drive to become “the leading energy company for electric mobility in France, the UK, Italy and Belgium”.

The new deal means EV drivers will soon be able to schedule charging times and take advantage of cheaper electricity supply during off-peak times. EDF already offers financial incentives to electric vehicle owners under the ‘Go Electric’ banner, and says its acquisition of Pod Point will allow it to include charging point installations as part of its packages.

The energy company claims it is “the leading generator of low-carbon electricity in the UK, avoiding 18 million tonnes of CO2 last year”.

READ: CHARGING NETWORK FLAWED

Pod Point produces charging units for private, public and commercial use, and claims to have installed 62,000 devices across the UK since it was founded in 2009. Its founder, Erik Fairbairn said: “We set out in 2009 with the vision that travel shouldn’t damage the earth and a mission to put a charge point everywhere you park. So far, we have made great progress towards those goals.

“By joining up with EDF we can take things to the next level and accelerate our national roll out of charging points and make it even easier for drivers across the UK to go electric.”

The news comes following last week’s government announcement that the sale of new combustion-powered cars will end in 2035, or sooner if possible. The plans have been repeatedly criticised by industry leaders and experts, who claim the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure is not ready to cope with a large-scale influx of zero-emission cars.

READ: COMBUSTION CAR SALES COULD END IN 2032

In 2018, BP bought Pod Point rival Chargemaster for £130 million, giving the energy giant control of the charge point manufacturer’s 6500 UK devices. The newly formed BP Chargemaster has begun rolling its rapid chargers out at fuel station forecourts nationwide.

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COMBUSTION CAR SALES COULD END IN 2032

COMBUSTION CAR SALES COULD END IN 2032

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told the BBC that the proposed date for the ban on the sale of new combustion-engined cars could be brought forward another three years to 2032.

The deadline for new petrol, diesel and hybrid sales had been posted at 2040, before a shock government announcement last week advanced the plans by five years. Mr Shapps’ comments today will frustrate industry bodies like the SMMT, which labelled the 2035 proposal ‘extremely concerning’.

Mr Shapps said the forceful shift to electrification would happen by 2035, “or even 2032” in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live. He also confirmed that the government will launch a consultation on the feasibility of such a tight turnaround.

READ: UK GOVERNMENT DOUBLES EV INFRASTRUCTURE FUND

It is not a complete surprise; when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the 2035 date last week, he said combustion-fuelled cars would be taken off sale as soon as possible.

The move comes ahead of an international climate summit in Glasgow in November, at which global leaders will discuss ways to bring down emissions and slow down climate change. The UK is working towards a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The SMMT has repeatedly stated that the government’s emissions targets are unrealistic and impracticable.As long ago as 2018, CEO Mike Hawes said: “The 2040 target is challenging enough; but to achieve market-wide penetration of zero emission vehicles by 2032 is virtually impossible without a massive upgrade to the national charging infrastructure and the reinstatement of a world-class package of incentives to encourage uptake of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

He reaffirmed his beliefs last week, when he accused the government of having “moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue”. He notes that EV vehicles still make up just a fraction of new car sales, and the government has sent mixed messages with the withdrawal of its plug-in car financial incentive.

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CAT AWARDS 2020: ALL THE WINNERS

CAT AWARDS 2020: ALL THE WINNERS

The 2020 edition of CAT’s annual awards ceremony took place at Manchester’s prestigious Lowry Hotel on 5 February. We celebrated the best our industry has to offer, with awards handed to those who most impressed our judging panel and readers.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the afternoon, and a huge congratulations to all the winners!

Take a look at who won each category here:

Factor Chain of the Year: Pentland Component Parts

Sponsored by UFI Filters

Garage Concept of the Year Award: Autocare

Independent Garage of the Year: Uckfield Motor Services

Sponsored by Toyota First

Supplier of the Year: Bilstein Group 

Sponsored by Automechanika

Rising Star: Bridgend College students

Industry Partner (as voted by readers): Impression Communications

Retailer of the Year: J G Bestwicks

Outstanding Achievement: Andy Kent, Andy’s Kars

Factor Branch Team of the Year: Wilco Motosave Grimsby 

Sponsored by Boswell

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BORGWARNER ACQUIRES DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES

BORGWARNER ACQUIRES DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES

Engineering giant BorgWarner is to acquire components manufacturer Delphi Technologies in a takeover deal worth $3.3 billion (£2.52 billion).

The move had a profound impact on both companies’ share prices immediately following the announcement earlier this month; shares in Delphi soared 61.95 percent to $15.86 on the NYSE immediately following the announcement, but BorgWarner shares slumped 7.76% to $35.38, as investors seemed nervous about the company investing in a company best known for diesel technology.

Speaking to investment journal Barrons, Research Analyst David Leiker commented: “For BorgWarner shareholders, we understand a view that this doesn’t reduce exposure to internal combustion engines.” Delphi Technologies’ stock tends to trade at a lower price to its rivals, given the company’s exposure to now-unfashionable fuel system parts.

Delphi Technologies was formed in 2017 when the original company split into two parts. Aptiv PLC has the automotive electronics and software side of the business, while Delphi Technologies has powertrain and aftermarket components.

Frederic Warner, CEO of BorgWarner, explained what drew the company to Delphi: “We were impressed by the electronics know-how overall and the scale…and the talent, the capabilities of the electronics. Delphi Technologies is really ahead of the curve. I think they’re a year more advanced than others.”

In 2019, Delphi Technologies generated $4.36 billion of net sales, while BorgWarner $10.17 billion.

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WEBASTO HQ SHUTS TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

WEBASTO HQ SHUTS TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

German automotive systems supplier Webasto has closed its global headquarters in Stockdorf, Germany after seven employees tested positive for Coronavirus.

The site will be closed until 11 February, with the firm’s 1000 employees working from home. Webasto’s decision to close for two weeks is in line with “the longest incubation period of 14 days assumed by experts for the virus,” according to company CEO Holger Engelmann.

Webasto CEO Holger Engelmann

The seven employees affected are reported to have contracted the illness following a series of meetings at the Stockdorf building. Five are German nationals and two are Chinese employees from the firm’s Shanghai office, who had been visiting Stockdorf.

Last week, Webasto reported that a further 122 employees have tested negative for the virus, but was awaiting results of several more.

The company said: “Up to now, Webasto has not experienced any restrictions in day-to-day operations due to the increased mobile work of the employees of the administration and development center.”

The firm does acknowledge, however, that “there are also tasks that cannot be done from home,” and is allowing 20 employees involved in testing and prototype construction for roof systems to return on a ‘voluntary basis’ from 4 February.

Engelmann said: “We have made this decision together with the works council after consultation with the responsible health authority.”

The firm claims that all buildings on the Stockdorf site have been professionally cleaned and disinfected by specialist staff.

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