AkzoNobel To Sell Specialty Chemicals To The Carlyle Group And GIC For $16.3 Billion

AkzoNobel has announced the full sale of its Specialty Chemicals business to the Carlyle Group and GIC for an enterprise value of €10.1 billion ($16.3 billion). The transaction creates two focused and high performing businesses – Paints and Coatings, and Specialty Chemicals – as part of Akzo’s strategy announced in April 2017. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.

The AkzoNobel Board of Management and the Supervisory Board concluded that a private sale to Carlyle and GIC is in the best interests of AkzoNobel, Specialty Chemicals and its respective stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and customers. The company said it is the outcome of a thorough dual-track process during which the boards of AkzoNobel carefully considered both a legal demerger and a private sale.

According to Akzo, Carlyle has a global presence and the financial capacity to enable the Specialty Chemicals business achieve its full potential, with extensive experience investing in chemicals, unlocking long-term potential and creating value in its portfolio companies.

“Today is a key milestone in creating two focused, high performing businesses to generate value for all stakeholders, said Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel. “We delivered on our commitment to separate the Specialty Chemicals business and did so ahead of schedule.

“We are very pleased to announce the sale of Specialty Chemicals to the Carlyle Group and GIC. We believe the business is well positioned to capture growth opportunities and further improve performance. Carlyle has significant experience in the chemicals industry and a proven track record when it comes to health, safety, innovation and sustainability.”

“We are pleased to invest in the Specialty Chemicals business and proud to support a business with such a strong heritage,” added Martin Sumner and Zeina Bain, Managing Directors at the Carlyle Group. “We are committed to growing the business and building upon its innovation capability, high quality work force and asset base, as well as its world-class sustainability and environmental practices. We look forward to working with the management team to transition the business to a successful independent company.”

“Specialty Chemicals is a strong and profitable business with highly skilled and motivated employees serving our customers every day with essential chemistry,” said Werner Fuhrmann, CEO of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. “As a focused chemicals company, we will concentrate our efforts and resources to accelerate profitable growth.

“With this transaction, our business has an opportunity to achieve its full potential and we will continue to fulfil the current and future needs of our customers throughout the world.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including the relevant regulatory approvals and consultation with the relevant employee representative bodies. AkzoNobel obtained shareholder approval for the separation at an extraordinary general meeting held on 30 November, 2017.

On the basis of the year-end balance sheet, AkzoNobel expects to receive a cash payment of €8.9 billion ($14.4 billion). Following deduction of deal and separation related costs, as well as other previously announced liabilities, the net proceeds are expected to be around €7.5 billion ($12.1 billion). The majority of net proceeds will be distributed to shareholders, with further details to be announced at a later date.

Equity will be provided by Carlyle Partners VII, Carlyle Europe Partners IV, Carlyle’s longstanding investment partner GIC (which manages Singapore’s foreign reserves) and co-investors.

The Carlyle Group previously acquired Axalta Coating Systems in 2013 for US$1.35 billion, locking in a US$4.5 billion profit on the investment when it broke up its stake and sold it to several investors over 2015 and 2016. The Group made an annual 80 per cent return on its investment over the four years of ownership.

Gemini Raises Over $33,000 For Variety

Gemini Accident Repair Centres has directed its franchisees to raise funds for Variety – The Children’s Charity of Queensland by doing what they do every day – repairing cars.

By leveraging its partnership with parts supplier Auto Parts Group, which offered a donation for each of its parts used, Gemini Accident Repair Centres across the nation raised over $33,000 to support Variety Queensland in its mission.

Variety Queensland, known for the Variety Bash, provided nearly $1 million in assistance last year to families in need.

“We are very excited to be partnering with two giants of the car repair world,” said Variety Queensland CEO, Steve Wakerley. “It was a fantastic example of businesses supporting each other to take a leadership role in their community and we look forward to engaging in this exciting campaign in the future.”

Gemini Accident Repair Centres Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Bubeck, and Auto Parts Group Managing Director, Stephen Campbell, presented Variety Queensland Board Chairperson John Wadley with a cheque for $33,424.00 at the Gemini Accident Repair Centres head office on 6 March, 2018.

“On behalf of the Gemini Group, I’m honoured to be giving back to the community that has supported our own success. The buy in from our front-line staff and supplier partner Auto Parts Group in making this a reality was just amazing. Thank you,” said Bubeck.

Autocare 2018 Free Training Programme Released

Visitors to this year’s Australian automotive industry event, Autocare 2018, can look forward to a series of free informative training sessions focusing on the latest collision repair technological advances in equipment, systems and processes, according to the event organiser, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).

These training sessions will be conducted on the I-CAR Training Stage across the two days of the inaugural industry convention, which takes place at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on 4 and 5 May.

Along with the free Autocare 2018 training sessions, over 100 of Australia’s leading automotive aftermarket suppliers and service providers will also be out in force at this convention (including BodyShop News), offering customer assistance, advice and training. In addition, the free Lowbake Spray Booth will see major refinish companies demonstrating their technology live and interactively during sessions throughout the two-day event on the outdoor deck.

The AAAA said collision repair business owners, panel repairers, technicians and apprentices are invited to join industry colleagues at Autocare 2018 to learn about the latest industry trends and technological advances that are shaping the future of business success.

Autocare 2018’s series of free training sessions start at 9:00am on Friday 4th May and will be repeated on Saturday 5th May on the I-CAR Training Stage. They include the following presentations:

  • UV Paint Curling – GPI Automotive Products
  • Collision Energy Management and New Technology Impact – I-CAR Australia
  • How To Turn Body Repair Into Smart Repair – Henkel Australia
  • Reduce Costs, Not Quality with Akemi – CESA
  • Ford Ranger and Ford Raptor Overview – I-CAR Australia
  • Big Dent Attack – Adhesive Collision Repair Techniques – Smart PDR Tools
  • Gold Class – Everything Explained – I-CAR Australia

To view the full program of presenters and session times, visit https://www.autocare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Collision-Repair-Training-Stage.pdf.

“We are calling all members of the collision repair sector of our industry to take advantage of the detailed training being offered free of charge at Autocare 2018 on May 4 and 5 in Sydney. Never before has the industry faced such an important need to stay up to date with technology as the Australian car fleet continues to grow in size and complexity,” said AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity.

“We are fortunate to have so many companies who are Australian and international leaders in their field taking part in these free training sessions and trade displays, demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that the industry is kept up to date on the rapid developments that are currently disrupting the collision repair sector at an unprecedented pace,” Mr Charity added.

Autocare 2018 is presented by Platinum Sponsor Repco and Diamond Sponsor I-CAR. The convention is also supported by several industry companies including SAPE Group, Lowbake, DNS Technology and CESA Products, together with over 80 Silver and Bronze Autocare 2018 partners. The event also includes a gala dinner sponsored by Pedders Suspension and a special outdoor feature car display at the newly constructed International Convention Centre located at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

The AAAA anticipates that over 3000 automotive professionals will attend the two-day free entry trade display and onsite training activities, with many also electing to attend the Autocare 2018 convention education programme. More information about the convention key note addresses and panel discussions can be found at www.autocare.org.au. Free registration can also be performed via the preceding website link.

Make ‘America First’ In Pedestrian Protection, Global NCAP Tells Donald Trump

In response to President Donald Trump’s claim last week that a so called ‘bowling ball’ test is preventing US automobiles from entering the Japanese market, Global NCAP has written to the US President urging him to make ‘America First’ in pedestrian protection by adopting the same global standard applied by Japan. In its letter, Global NCAP explain the purpose of the United Nation’s Global Technical Regulation on pedestrian protection (GTR No 9) which aims to mitigate the risk of head injury by encouraging deformation of the hood.

Applied in Japan and in the European Union (EU) since 2005, a similar test was proposed by the National Highway Safety Administration in December 2015 to be included in the US New Car Assessment Program. At the time NHTSA noted that pedestrian protection measures in Europe and Japan “have likely contributed to a downward trend in pedestrian fatalities” and argued that “including pedestrian protection in the NCAP program would be a step toward realizing similar downward trends experienced in regions of the world that include pedestrians in their consumer information programs”. To date this proposed update of the US NCAP has not happened.

Global NCAP also points out that pedestrian fatalities in the USA have risen for two years in succession now amounting to 6000 lives lost per annum and accounting for 16 per cent of total road deaths. The organisation, therefore, “strongly agrees with NHTSA’s 2015 assessment that improved pedestrian protection in the USA could help reduce the number killed in such crashes each year”.

3M To Host Chip Foose At Meguiar’s MotorEx

3M announced it’s bringing Chip Foose to headline Meguiar’s MotorEx in May at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Foose, star of hit TV show Overhaulin’, is arguably the preeminent car designer of his generation, and has inspired millions through his companies Foose Design and Foose Wheels. Foose has received an incredible four ‘Ridler’ awards, the world’s most prestigious custom car building award.

It’s a rare and special opportunity for the Australian public to get up close and personal with a global industry champion, with fan signing sessions, drawing workshops and panel chats across the weekend. Chip will also be just hanging out at the event, admiring the cars or meeting people on the 3M stand.

3M will also be presenting a special Chip Foose breakfast workshop with local apprentices and TAFE students where he will inspire the next generation. This is an important part of 3M’s continued commitment to inspiration and innovation in the Aussie automotive aftermarket industry.

“Chip is Global Brand Ambassador for 3M, and it’s exciting that he’s coming to Australia and sharing his passion. It’s important to 3M that Chip gets the chance to interact with apprentices, fans and businesses in Melbourne, and that’s exactly what he’s going to do at Meguiar’s MotorEx,” said Andrew King, Business Manager of 3M ANZ Automotive Aftermarket Division.

“There are more than 500 shows in the U.S that would give anything to have Chip at their event, but thanks to 3M, Foose picked Meguiar’s MotorEx,” said Bruce Morrison, Managing Director of Motoractive and Australian distributor for 3M Designer Wraps.

Chip Foose is just one part of the exciting programme that will set the Melbourne Showgrounds alight in May at Meguiar’s MotorEx. Through a partnership with SEMA, 30 US companies are joining over 100 Australian businesses in Performance Garage, a world full of aftermarket, performance and racing industry exhibitors and vehicles.

At the heart of the event are 300 of the craziest custom and modified cars in the country, worth over $40 million dollars. There’s also the Meguiar’s Superstars, House of Kolor Inauguration which sees the unveiling of never seen before custom creations and the Street Machine Hall of Fame display. MotorEx is also getting active with drifting and 4WD displays, live music, dyno testing, massive engine start-ups, celebrity cars and over 400 Real Street cars adding to the spectacle.

This is just some of the action you can expect over the weekend, all combining into a massive 40,000sqm of eye candy laden floor space. To ensure you don’t miss out on the incredible opportunity to see Chip Foose as part of the new look Meguiar’s MotorEx, and to avoid queues at the event, get your tickets at www.motorex.com.au.

Meguiar’s MotorEx takes place May 26-27, 2018 at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Flemington.

A Successful Future With Help From The Experts At Autocare 2018

The major Australian automotive aftermarket industry event of the year, Autocare 2018, welcomes members of the automotive trade from Sydney, regional New South Wales and across the country to take part and learn more about the bright future ahead for their businesses.

Presented by Platinum sponsor Repco and Diamond Sponsor I-CAR, Autocare 2018 will be held at the Sydney International Convention Centre on May 4 and 5.

Autocare 2018 offers mechanical repairers, collision repairers and their automotive parts supply chain colleagues the opportunity to gain the latest information, advice and education to help guide their businesses towards a highly successful and profitable future.

Members of the automotive trade are welcome to register to attend both days of Autocare 2018 free of charge.

More than 100 of Australia’s top automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers and industry service providers will provide Autocare 2018 visitors with their products and services on display along with providing practical demonstrations of modern repair technology and processes designed to make your businesses more efficient, productive and sustainable.

Autocare 2018 will feature the AutoMate Training Stage that will provide regular and detailed technical presentations throughout this two-day education-led industry event. These presentations will reveal and discuss the latest innovations in mechanical and collision repair technology.

Automotive trade visitors to Autocare 2018 will also enjoy a feature car display and experience the latest in refinishing technology courtesy of the Lowbake Australia portable spray booth, which will be located at the spacious outdoor deck of the new Sydney International Convention Centre.

The importance of this Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) organised event cannot be understated.

“Education has never played a more important role in the future of Australia’s independent repairers and service providers,” Stated AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity.

“The disruption caused by rapid developments in repair and servicing diagnostics, procedures and component technologies, now places enormous importance on the need to be accurately and regularly informed to ensure your business sustainability and long-term growth. This is what Autocare 2018 is all about,” Charity added.

While attendance at the information stream specialised Autocare 2018 convention presentations has a cost component, it is also important to note that members of the trade who wish to visit Autocare 2018, meet with the companies on display and learn from the interactive training displays and take part in the event’s networking opportunities, can do so free of charge throughout this first major automotive aftermarket industry event to be held in Sydney in five years.

You can register to attend Autocare 2018 quickly and easily online at www.autocare.org.au or visit the website to find out more about this premier automotive repair, service and parts supply chain industry event.

Environmental Lawsuit Settled With AutoNation In California

A $3.38 million settlement has been reached between dozens of AutoNation subsidiaries and eight California counties including Alameda and Santa Clara for alleged violations of environmental and customer record laws.

The 57 dealerships and collision centres will pay US$2.1 million in civil penalties after they allegedly disposed of hazardous waste illegally, broke laws related to the storage of hazardous materials and didn’t protect the information of some customers.

Prosecutors said the case began in 2013 when environmental health inspectors from Santa Clara County allegedly saw hazardous waste violations at several AutoNation service departments.

AutoNation is the country’s largest retailer of new vehicles.

A string of undercover inspections of the dealership’s garbage cans revealed that hazardous automotive fluids, partially filled aerosol cans, used oil filters, electronic waste, and at one dealership, used motor oil, were allegedly disposed of illegally.

Prosecutors also allege that documents and invoices containing customers’ personal information were found in the trash. California law requires businesses make reasonable efforts to dispose of customer records by erasing or redacting information or shredding documents.

Prosecutors said as part of the settlement, the defendants will pay US$380,000 in costs and US$900,000 on projects aimed at improving the company’s compliance with hazardous waste laws.

The terms of the settlement also state that California AutoNation dealerships have a full-time environmental director on staff, provide resources so customer records can be shred and train all employees who work with customer records on the requirements of records laws.

Officials with AutoNation issued a statement, saying, “AutoNation is committed to environmental compliance and stewardship, and the protection of confidential customer information. Our indirectly owned California stores and collision centres devote substantial resources to the proper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials, as well as to safeguarding their customers’ private information, in compliance with the law.”

Car-O-Liner Distributor Opens New Training Centre In KSA

Together with its new partner, Al Rajhi Takaful Insurance (ART), the largest motor vehicle insurance company in the Middle East, the AKA group team opened their new Training Academy on February 24th, 2018.

More than 60 guests attended the opening ceremony, including a large group of ART management and representatives.

Matthias Mueller, General Manager of AKA group operations, welcomed guests and outlined a brief summary of the strategies of both companies, in terms of training. The training centre has one section for training in body repair technique. It is fully equipped with a Car-O-Liner BenchRack 6300 and the Car-O-Tronic Vision2 X3 measuring system. For diagnosis and light repair there is the Speed alignment platform with and the PointX diagnostic measuring instrument.

The centre also includes a section for paint and preparation training, equipped with spray booths, preparation lifts and dry sanding systems. Two lecture rooms will be used for theoretical training classes. The opening day for the public and all customers will be on March 12th, 2018.

IAG Unveils 2016-2017 Quality Report

IAG today released its fifth Quality Report, the insurance industry’s only report that provides annual data on property and motor repair standards.

The IAG Quality Report gives insight into the monitoring, assessment and quality of repair standards across the company’s nationwide property and motor repair network.

IAG said it has been investing in its Partner Repair Network since 2012 to deliver safe, quality repairs and a high level of customer service across all its brands. The company added that the motor and property repair businesses IAG partners with have the skills, technology, equipment and resources to deliver efficient, high quality repairs for its customers across the country.

In 2016-17, IAG undertook 43,478 quality inspections of motor vehicle repairs. Quality issues were identified in 0.51 per cent of authorised repairs and potential safety issues in 0.01 per cent of authorised repairs.

IAG also undertook 6200 quality inspections of property repairs. Quality issues were identified in 2.56 per cent of authorised repairs and potential safety issues in 0.05 per cent of authorised repairs. Where an issue was identified during an inspection, IAG worked with repairers to rectify them.

IAG Executive General Manager of Short Tail Claims, Steve Fitzpatrick, said IAG is focused on continually supporting its partner repairers to further enhance their ability to deliver the highest quality repairs and service for customers.

“Over the past financial year, we increased the number of inspections across all brands underwritten and backed by IAG, with just under 50,000 motor and property inspections completed,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We will ensure our Partner Repair Network continues to evolve to provide the best possible experience for our customers, with the delivery of high quality repairs and excellent customer service.”

IAG has also introduced the Road to Gold I-CAR Certification for Motor Partner Repairers. This training will take approximately 24 months for partners to complete and is currently being rolled out progressively state by state.

The company said the certification will further enhance the knowledge of motor partner repairers and give customers more peace of mind that their vehicle is being repaired to the highest quality standard by a repairer with the highest possible accreditation in Australia.

The I-CAR programme complements the range of initiatives IAG has put in place to ensure quality of repairs, including the 10 Point Quality Repair Plan, Partner Repairer National Standards, and IAG’s attainment of I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status.

IAG said it is also using the latest technology to help its customers recover from incidents as quickly as possible.

“We are using drones which allow us to more quickly and safely assess a property after a fire, storm or flood. This means we can get the claim process underway for our customer as quickly as possible,” Fitzpatrick said.

To view the report, visit www.iag.com.au.

Car Craft Opens Office In Victoria

The Car Craft Group has established a base in Victoria with the group opening an office in South Melbourne at the Lakeside Business Centre.

“The Group’s expansion across the country has been at a steady pace and now that we’ve a put a flag in the ground here, it shows the Group’s focus of supporting local businesses with a local presence,” said Car Craft Victoria’s Darren Curry.

“The Group’s expansion across Australia continues in all states. Currently with 98 repairers being part of the network, it reinforces the Group’s philosophy of the independent repairer being stronger if they are part of a network like Car Craft.”

Car Craft General Manager, Peter McMahon, said: “While we’ve been speaking with repairers in Victoria about the benefits of being part of a network of likeminded business owners, we were very active in looking for the right location to establish our footprint and now being in the South Melbourne area allows us to not only reach business owners, but puts us in the middle of (the) St Kilda road business district.”