IAG To Pay Increased Dividend To Shareholders

Insurance company IAG will pay a final fully-franked dividend of 20 Australian cents per share following the release of its results for the financial year ended 30 June 2018. The company says this brings the full year dividend to 34 cents, representing an increase of three per cent over FY17 and a cash payout ratio of 77.9 per cent.

IAG has also announced a A$592 million capital management initiative to distribute surplus capital to shareholders. The initiative, which is subject to shareholder approval at the AGM, amounts to 25 cents per ordinary share, and is expected to comprise of a capital return of 19.5 cents and a fully franked special dividend of 5.5 cents.

The 19.5 cents per share capital return will be accompanied by a related share consolidation, which is expected to reduce the number of shares on issue by approximately 2.4 per cent.

Car Craft Continues Expansion Strategy

Car Craft has added 11 independent businesses to the group, taking the network’s total number of shops across Australia to 108. The group’s growth is expected to continue after Car Craft directors unanimously agreed at a meeting in July to continue the strategy that has allowed the group to grow by 25 per cent in the last 24 months.

“The expansion in NSW, Victoria [and] the Northern Territory has been very encouraging, and with SA, QLD and WA also adding to the group’s footprint in their well-established markets, the ability to offer all our work providers the same outstanding service across the country is peace of mind,” said Car Craft General Manager Peter McMahon.

“This will not be growth for growth’s sake – we will continue to expand at a steady pace, inviting like-minded business owners to join Australia’s largest independently owned smash repair network and enjoy the benefits of being part of a group they own.”

The latest members to join the Car Craft Group are:

Garry and Dan Maher, L&M Smash Repairs
Nick Verri and John Syphers, NV Panel and Paint
Wesley Chapman, Urunga Smash Repairs
Dan & Megan Leishman, Gold Coast Collision Centre
Robert & Kym Wilson, Wilson Auto Accident Repair Centre
James Sardellis, George Danas and Daniel Edwards, Bell Collision Thomastown
Darren Robertson and Barbara Gilfillan, Dean’s Smash Repairs
Bill Kubeil, Somerville & District Panels
Ray and Sam Campbell, Broome Accident Repair Centre
Guido Merlo, Autocrash Express Repairs
Butch Bennett, Butch Bennett Crash Repairs

Axalta Services Offers Course To Help Body Shops Develop Leadership Skills

Axalta Coating Systems is offering an I-CAR approved leadership course nationally, designed for body shop owners, managers and team leaders to develop the skill set to become successful leaders within a team and business.

Named simply the Leadership Course, participants will walk away with an in-depth understanding of how to differentiate leadership from management, motivate and develop staff, build a positive working culture and create the next generation of leaders that will ultimately translate into happier, more effective staff and a strong business model.

Running a body shop requires leadership at all levels of management. Axalta Services says it understands the importance of this and the impact it can have on a body shop’s business sustainability. This led the team at Axalta to develop a leadership course that focuses on providing the right techniques to lead a team effectively and efficiently. The course targets:

  • Understanding the differences between leadership and management
  • Developing and motivating body shop staff to improve performance, retention and conflict resolution, whilst creating a positive and meaningful culture
  • Identifying the right management style for the business

The programme will show attendees how to effectively communicate, build and sustain better teams, create a positive culture in the business and keep staff engaged for the long term. Axalta says strategies designed to keep and develop staff have never been more critical as the pool of people from which to draw upon is dwindling at an alarming rate.

The I-CAR certified leadership course is taught using a highly interactive guided learning model to keep attendees engaged in the learning process. Numerous concepts will be available, including:

  • Identifying the task or functions critical to becoming a successful leader
  • Increasing retention and reducing absenteeism
  • Providing opportunities to network with other business leaders
  • Providing techniques to establish and improve employee engagement

Axalta’s Training Alliance with I-CAR means that upon the completion of the leadership course, an attendee will be awarded credit hours that can be applied towards the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual designations, or be used to meet role‑relevant annual training requirements. The training dates in 2018 are:

  • South Australia – 22 August
  • Queensland – 29 August
  • New South Wales – 25 September
  • Western Australia – 10 October
  • Victoria – 5 December

Full details on Axalta Services and the latest courses available can be found at www.axalta.com.au/AxaltaServices.

John Nagle Appointed icare CEO And Managing Director

The Chairman of icare, Michael Carapiet, has announced that John Nagle, icare’s current interim CEO and Managing Director, has been permanently appointed into the role following an extensive international search.

“Over the past two and a half years icare has undertaken significant transformation in providing customer-centric services to NSW businesses, injured workers and road users, builders and the wider NSW Government,” Carapiet said.

“John has a proven commitment to icare customers and our people and a thorough understanding and focus on our social purpose. He also has a commitment to continuous improvement and operational excellence,” he said.

“First as the leader of icare Workers Insurance and more recently as interim CEO and Managing Director, John has driven a more empathetic approach to delivering services while at the same time keeping focus on improving internal efficiencies.

“He embodies the commercial mind and social heart ethos of icare.

“The board is confident that with John at the helm, icare will build upon the tremendous improvements already made and, importantly, deliver outstanding services to our customers,” Carapiet said.

Nagle said he was excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead icare and serve the NSW community.

“I am privileged to work alongside some of the most passionate professionals in NSW who are all focused on ensuring we can meet the needs of our customers,” Nagle said.

“At icare we insure the people, businesses and assets that make NSW great. Often people call on us when they are at their most vulnerable and it’s paramount that we provide services with empathy and care.

“I look forward to leading icare into its next phase as we build upon our achievements and strive to improve the way we deliver services,” Nagle said.

Global-First Alliance Distribution Warehouse Opens In Australia

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced the opening of a state-of-the-art National Distribution Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

The shared parts and accessories warehouse is a first for Alliance member companies, which globally sold more than 10.6 million vehicles in 2017. It is designed to maximise productivity, efficiency and accuracy in order fulfillment, allowing manufacturers to enhance service to their national dealership networks.

The facility will become the new master warehouse for Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors’ national distribution network and will also service the INFINITI brand, which falls under the Alliance.

Based in the Melbourne suburb of Truganina, the purpose-built facility is strategically located between Melbourne’s sea container terminal and the airport. The facility has direct access to all interstate roads, is over 37,000 square metres in size, and is part of a CEVA super site that is the largest logistics facility in the southern hemisphere.

Housing more than 90,000 different parts, the Alliance National Distribution Centre manages 11 inbound sea containers daily, as well as airfreight and other local shipments. It brings in 2500 parts each day, while eight B-double transporters – as part of a same day service – deliver 8500 parts direct to dealerships.

Operating 24 hours a day and transporting parts across the entire country, the warehouse has space for approximately 100,000 parts and accessories. It includes a 677-square metre wet room with space for 700 pallets and employs over 90 staff.

One of the first six-star Green Star built and accredited buildings in Australia, it has a roof-mounted solar system to provide renewable energy, high bay LED lighting with daylight and motion sensors, early suppression fast response sprinkler systems and a rain water system for bathroom and garden irrigation.

It also incorporates industry-leading technologies and processes for the fast and efficient movement of automotive parts and accessories. These include a dedicated area for the storage of hazardous liquids such as oils, transmission and break fluids, and the 10 container docks allow for high volume inbound and outbound shipments.

Symach Partners With Alphabet Italia Fleet Management

Alphabet Italia Fleet Management SpA, the BMW Group’s car rental company, has chosen Symach as a technology partner to support its Alphabet Point collision shop network in achieving quality objectives in repair, production efficiency and speed of delivery to the customer.

Symach Srl is a leading company in collision shop processes and layouts in addition to being a manufacturer of body work equipment. Having already installed equipment in more than 90 shops all over the world with the FixLine production process, Symach will supply Alphabet’s network with its technological know-how and customised solutions for the design of new collision repair shops and the upgrade of existing ones. This will also include training on Symach repair processes.

“Alphabet is an excellent partner with whom we share the objectives to be achieved in terms of quality, efficiency and speed that are the foundation of Symach philosophy and process,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, Symach Founder and President.

“The process, the layout and the technology of Symach can allow the collision shops of the Alphabet Point network to easily obtain the results that Alphabet expects.”

Roberto Sticca, Operations Director of Alphabet Italia Fleet Management S.p.A. said: “The partnership with Symach is complementing the one already consolidated with AkzoNobel / Sikkens and represents a further step forward in the research path of service excellence in terms of both performance and strategy integration. I am convinced that this partnership will bring great benefits to all the parties involved, because the know-how in product development and the efficiency of the processes are key factors for the quality of the service we want to offer our customers.”

Audio Version Of ‘The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops’ Out Now

Audio Version Available Now On Audible, Soon On iTunes

Dave Luehr, author of The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops, believes that right now is the best time in history to be in the collision repair business, but only for those with the right mindset. Luehr and his co-author, Stacey Phillips, announced the audio version of the highly-acclaimed industry book is now available to purchase.

“I felt that the book was very well received in the collision repair industry, and I could not be happier about that,” said Luehr. “However, understanding that many in the industry find it difficult to find the time to read, or just don’t like to read, we felt it necessary to make an audio version available.”

The audio version of the book is now available to purchase on Audible and will be available soon on iTunes. All three versions of the book – paperback, Kindle and audio – are available on Amazon and at www.bodyshopsecrets.com.

Throughout the book, which was released in April 2017, the authors share insightful lessons along with real-world stories of actual collision repairers who have discovered the six secrets that have propelled them to a much higher level than their competitors.

“I believe the book contains critical information for many shop leaders who are wanting to take advantage of the challenging times we face as an industry, so we decided we would do whatever is required to get this information out there to those who need it,” said Luehr.

Mike Anderson, Jeff Peevy and Petra Schroeder are among the industry experts included in ‘The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops’.

The authors invite body shop owners around the world to join the conversation and share their stories about how their business has changed since reading the book. Visit the book’s Facebook page and post a story and photo with the hashtag #myshopsecret.

Volkswagen Group Fined $1.55 Billion For Diesel Emissions Scandal

The Braunschweig public prosecutor in Germany has issued a fine of €1 billion ($1.55) in total against Volkswagen AG – consisting of the maximum penalty as legally provided for of €5 million and the “disgorgement of economic benefits” in the amount of €995 million.

According to the findings of the investigation carried out by the Braunschweig public prosecutor, there were 10.7 million vehicles in total with the diesel engines of the types EA 288, in the United States and Canada, and EA 189, world-wide, being advertised, sold to customers, and placed on the market with an impermissible software function in the period from mid-2007 until 2015.

Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it.

Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.

As a result of the administrative order imposing the fine, the active regulatory offence proceedings conducted against Volkswagen will be finally terminated.

Volkswagen assumes that such termination of the proceedings will also have significant positive effects on further active administrative proceedings in Europe against the Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries.

The SAPE Group Expands Queensland Presence

The SAPE Group has announced the expansion of its paint portfolio through the acquisition of the Paint Depot, which is based in Brisbane and Gold Coast.

With this new step, the SAPE Group said it reaffirms its commitment to growing and expanding its operations in Australia and investing in the collision repair industry, particularly during a time of significant transition within the industry.

Ray McMartin, CEO of the SAPE Group, said: “This is an important move for the SAPE Group in Queensland. The acquisition will allow us to access new markets and to expand the business through The Paint Depot’s existing client base. The acquisition also marks the latest milestone in evolution and growth for the SAPE Group since opening in 1976.”

As part of the acquisition agreement, all existing management and staff will retain their jobs. There will be an amalgamation of branches, with the Brisbane Branch to be located at 1/11 Woomera Place, Archerfield. The Gold Coast Branch will become located at 3/116 Minnie Street, Southport.

Paul McMartin, Operations Manager for the SAPE Group Operations, said: “We are strongly committed to expanding our business in Australia and this acquisition makes perfect sense. The Paint Depot is a great company with huge potential, and their product range complements SAPE’s existing business perfectly.

“We’re so proud of this achievement and welcome the company’s employees to the SAPE Group.”

PPG Strengthens Sustainable Operations And Goals

With the recent release of its 2017 Corporate Sustainability Report, PPG has detailed its continued progress in strengthening its sustainable operations in 2017, as well as launching new, aggressive sustainability goals it aims to achieve by 2025.

“PPG’s sustainability efforts go beyond product innovations to extend to our customers’ operations and the communities in which we operate,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG Vice President, Environment, Health & Safety. “We are encouraged by our progress in 2017 and excited about our new goals, which are representative of the challenges and opportunities of our current business portfolio.”

2017 highlights:

  • 32 per cent of sales from products that provide customers with a sustainable advantage – an increase of 60 per cent since 2012. This includes unveiling multiple products that provide a sustainable solution, such as Sigma Air Pure, a “revolutionary” bio-based product that protects indoor air quality
  • 15 per cent reduction in waste since 2012
  • 46 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 2012
  • 0.29 rate of injury and illness, a 6.5 per cent reduction from 2016
  • Implementation of employee wellness programs at 70 per cent of locations with 50 or more employees
  • $10.5 million invested in hundreds of community organisations across 29 countries

The report is available at www.sustainability.ppg.com.