AkzoNobel And Axalta End Merger Discussions

After confirming market speculation that it was in talks with Axalta regarding a potential merger of its Coatings business, AkzoNobel announced it had ended its discussions with Axalta without agreement.

The Dutch company said that it will continue to focus on its strategy of accelerating sustainable growth and profitability through the creation of two focused, high-performing businesses and remains committed to its 2020 financial guidance.

The separation of the AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals business and return of the vast majority of the net proceeds to shareholders remain on track.

Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel, said: “I am confident that our strategy offers significant value for shareholders and other stakeholders in the short, medium and long term. We remain focused on our strategic options to continue to develop our business and improve profitability in the future.”

“After pursuing a potential combination of Axalta and Akzo, we concluded we could not negotiate a transaction on terms that meet our criteria,” said Charles W. Shaver, Axalta’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Any transaction we ultimately agree to needs to generate superior long-term value for Axalta shareholders as compared to the continued execution of our strategic plan.”

NSF Certifies First Automotive Recyclers in Australia

NSF International has issued its first automotive recycler certifications to three companies in Australia. ASV Euro Car Parts in Sydney, Grant Walker Parts in Melbourne and Paradise Auto Parts in Adelaide meet all of the NSF International certification requirements, including rigorous grading, operational, labelling and traceability requirements, as well as safety and environmental compliance requirements.

NSF International’s automotive recycler certification provides independent third-party confirmation that automotive recyclers meet national and local recycler requirements including environmental and safety requirements. Additional requirements for certification include having processes in place for vehicle acquisition, dismantling, equipment, parts storage and customer service as well as inventory tracking and recall procedures.

“The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council supports standards that help the automotive recycling industry enhance their operations from a safety, provenance and environmental perspective,” said Ray Carroll, Executive Director, National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council. “NSF International certification provides recyclers a means to demonstrate this commitment.”

“Being the first Australian recyclers to earn NSF International automotive recycler certification exemplifies ASV Euro Car Parts’, Grant Walker Parts’ and Paradise Auto Parts’ outstanding dedication and commitment to safety, the environment and customer service,” said Bob Frayer, Global Managing Director of NSF International’s Automotive Certification Programs.

Messe Frankfurt Acquires Automotive Maintenance & Repair Expo (AMR)

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd has acquired a major proportion of Beijing Traders-Link Plus International Exhibition Co Ltd, organiser of the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Expo (AMR) in Beijing.

The agreement of the acquisition was signed in Shanghai on 10 November 2017 between Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and Beijing Traders-Link Plus International Exhibition Co Ltd. In the agreement, both parties accorded to form a new joint venture company named Messe Frankfurt Traders-Link (Beijing) Co Ltd, in which Messe Frankfurt will hold the majority interest. This acquisition is also strongly supported by industry associations: The China Automotive Maintenance Equipment Industry Association (CAMEIA) and the China Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (CAMRA), who are also the co-organisers Automotive Maintenance & Repair Expo (AMR).

Stephan Buurma, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt Group, shared his view: “The Automechanika brand shows in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and New Delhi, as well as the CAPAS show in Chengdu, together cover all areas of the value chain to serve the flourishing aftermarket sector in Asia and in China in particular. The next step is to strengthen our presence in each of the industry’s sectors.”

“Being the biggest automobile market in the world, China’s repair and maintenance market is growing eminently. This new acquisition provides fast access for our key customers in the automotive field to penetrate this booming market,” Buurma added.

Steven Wang, General Manager of Beijing Traders-Link Plus International Exhibition Co Ltd, believes the agreement comes at a good time for international key players to tap into the evolving repair and maintenance sector. He said: “With the recently passed Administrative Measures for Automobile Sales policy and the increase in out of warranty vehicles, the sector’s structure is expected to evolve from the domination of 4S, to multiple forms such as independent workshops and online platforms. Despite the aftermarket being more competitive than ever, it unlocks unprecedented opportunities for distributors, end-users and stakeholders from the global repair and maintenance suppliers. I am certain that the move is mutually beneficial to both local and international industry counterparts.” Wang also said that with the new acquisition, the organiser is projecting an increase in the 2018 show’s scale to 1,200 exhibitors and 60,000 visits.

AMR has successfully grown into Asia’s biggest and one of the world’s top three trade fairs. In its latest edition in 2017, the show’s scale expanded to 110,000 sqm of exhibition space and attracted 1,139 exhibitors and 58,212 visits.

The show covers every aspect of the auto maintenance and repair sector including garage equipment, testing & diagnostic equipment and tools, coating, collision repair, car care and car wash, chain stores, training and software. The broad product spectrum attracts trade visitors such as 4S shops, car care shops, car manufacturers, chain stores, distributors and wholesalers, test stations, transportation companies, tyre shops and workshops to source and look for business opportunities every year.

Automotive Maintenance & Repair Expo 2018 (AMR 2018) will be held from 1 – 4 April at the New China International Exhibition Centre (NCIEC). For more information, please visit www.amr-china.cn or e-mail auto@hongkong.messefrankfurt.com.

AkzoNobel Confirms Discussions With Axalta Regarding Potential Merger

In response to market speculation, AkzoNobel confirms it is currently in constructive discussions regarding a merger of the AkzoNobel Paints & Coatings business with Axalta. This will create a leading global paints & coatings company through a merger of equals.

AkzoNobel confirms that its separation of Specialty Chemicals, including the return of the vast majority of net proceeds to shareholders, remains on track for April 2018 and is unaffected by these discussions.

Axalta Debuts Cromax EZ On Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Cup Car at SEMA

Axalta Coating Systems will debut Cromax® EZ, its latest waterborne offering for the refinish market, on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last NASCAR® Cup Series race car during the 2017 SEMA Show. Earnhardt will drive the Cromax EZ-painted No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS for his final start as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver at Homestead-Miami Speedway on 19 November, 2017.

Cromax EZ is a waterborne basecoat system that delivers exceptional results, has superior colour match capability and outstanding cycle time. Designed for body shops that want to make a seamless transition from a solventborne application process to a waterborne system, EZ is exceptionally easy to use and requires minimal training. Cromax EZ also features a simple mixing procedure that requires just a single reducer and mix ratio across all formula types and environmental conditions. Simply put, Cromax EZ is easy to mix, easy to match, and easy to apply.

“We are thrilled to debut Cromax EZ on the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS for Dale’s final race as a full-time driver in the Cup Series,” said Mike Carr, Axalta President, Americas. “The red and black paint scheme is iconic. Cromax EZ did the scheme justice on what is a very special race car for a very historic moment in motorsports.”

Visitors to the 2017 SEMA Show can see the race car on display in Axalta’s indoor booth #22391. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear at the booth from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Thursday, 2 November to share his thoughts on his career and upcoming final start as a full-time Cup Series driver.

For more information about Axalta’s schedule of events for the 2017 SEMA Show, please visit www.axalta.us/sema2017.

BASF Supports Young Spray Painters As A Global WorldSkills Sponsor

Since 1950, trainees and young skilled workers from all over the world have competed with each other in numerous categories and measured their skills in the individual occupations. The WorldSkills competition aims to motivate young people worldwide to take up a trade or technical occupation. They qualify for the biennial world championship in national and regional preliminary competitions. To support up-and-coming spray painters and young talent, BASF’s Coatings division has signed on to be a global sponsor of the WorldSkills International umbrella association until at least 2019.

By sponsoring the WorldSkills competition, the Automotive Refinish business unit of BASF’s Coatings division aims to make young talent excited about the spray-painting profession in particular and is focusing on promoting the next generation of automotive refinishers. During the competition, participants in this category will exclusively use products from the comprehensive portfolio of BASF’s refinish brands Glasurit or R-M, depending on the country, as well as the RODIM brand range of paint-related products. “With our active commitment, we are emphasizing the significance and viability of a career as an automotive refinisher, an occupation which for years has suffered from a shortage of up-and-coming candidates. This kind of competition, which also includes the international R-M Best Painter Contest, illustrates the diverse nature of the occupation, which calls for both craftsmanship as well as sustainable thinking and efficient action,” explained Dr. Harald Borgholte, Global Strategic Marketing & Product Development, BASF Coatings.

The support by BASF’s Coatings division provides WorldSkills with a strong global partner that will contribute its in-depth automotive refinishing expertise to the competitions. The sponsorship benefits the WorldSkills competitions themselves, but also enhances the image of numerous occupations worldwide. And the young competitors all over the world get the chance to demonstrate their technical abilities and master new challenges.

The WorldSkills competition will take place in the Middle East for the first time: From October 14-19, 2017, some 1,200 talented young people will showcase their skills in 51 individual competitions in Abu Dhabi. In order to qualify for the final at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, in which 76 national WorldSkills associations will be represented, the candidates must win the national competition of their respective country. About 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the competition, including 10,000 international visitors, making the WorldSkills competition the biggest event ever to be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. At the 2017 WorldSkills final, the automotive refinish contenders will compete using Glasurit premium brand products exclusively.

Positive Industry Response To Autocare 2018

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket industry has responded strongly since the recent launch of Autocare 2018, the national two-day, Sydney based convention designed specifically for automotive aftermarket parts, service and repair professionals to be held on May 4 and 5, 2018.

Autocare 2018 will take place at the new International Convention Centre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. This major national industry convention is hosted by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and has been structured primarily as an education-led event, addressing the latest developments and trends across the constantly evolving automotive parts, service and repair sectors of the industry.

The industry has responded strongly to the recent launch of this new, important and innovative national industry convention. Several Autocare 2018 sponsorships and trade display opportunities have already been sold in line with the recent release of event partnership opportunities.

From Australia’s largest parts, tools and equipment supplier through to several of the country’s largest automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers and marketers, Autocare 2018 partnership opportunities are both valuable and limited.

Autocare 2018 will be presented by premier Diamond tier sponsors Repco and I-CAR, with blue chip automotive aftermarket industry companies Axalta, Bodyline Imports, Car-O-Liner, DNS Technology, Fix Auto Australia, Henkel Australia, Lowbake Australia, Nippon Paints, Sydney Automotive Paints & Equipment and Valspar Automotive Australia already signed on as Autocare 2018 partners.

Autocare 2018 also offers three tiers of trade display area options which are available to a strictly limited number of companies on a first come, first served basis. These trade display opportunities represent excellent value for this inaugural national automotive aftermarket convention. As Autocare 2018 is an education led event, trade display areas present highly visible opportunities to showcase products and to conduct personalised customer training throughout the event.

Autocare 2018 will feature detailed plenary sessions and seminars across three key resounding themes that are integral to the continued success and growth of the $14 billion Australian automotive parts, service and repair industry – disruption, innovation and rejuvenation.

A number of additional inclusions are being organised to attract thousands of automotive aftermarket professionals to Autocare 2018. These include a special feature car display, along with appearances from key motorsport identities and international VIP guest speakers.

Limited affordable opportunities remain to secure a well-recognised presence at Autocare 2018. To ensure that your company is a part of this major two-day national convention contact Autocare 2018 Exhibition Manager, Nina Roberts by calling 03 9596 9205 or by email – nina@iecgroup.com.au or download a copy of the event prospectus at http://www.autocare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Autocare-2018-electronic-prospectus.pdf.

Original Chip Foose Renderings – ‘The Last Of The Aussie Muscle’

3M Automotive Aftermarket Division ANZ has hosted its Global Brand Ambassador, Chip Foose for the Australian leg of his Global Tour in 2017. As part of his visit Chip launched 3M PPS 2.0 at the Gosford Classic Car Museum and also attended the Bathurst Supercheap 1000 Motor Race at Mt Panorama.

Chip Foose is a legendary American custom car designer, builder and star of the popular automotive show Overhaulin’. His career highlights include being the youngest inductee into the US Hot Rod Hall of fame at age 31 as well as taking out three “Ridler’ awards for cars he designed and fabricated. On top of his many awards Chip was selected by John Lasseter of Pizar to contribute paint schemes and graphic treatments to certain character for the hit movie ‘Cars’.

To celebrate his visit and the end of an era for car manufacturing in Australia, Chip has drawn and added his design styling to two of the last iconic muscle cars in Australia, the Ford Falcon XR-8 and the Holden Commodore SS. These two drawings will be sold at auction.

The proceeds of the auction will go to the ‘Feel The Magic’ charity which is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that run the country’s leading grief education and support programme for children. Their programmes aim to provide children with a skill set that allows them to explore and understand grief with peers sharing a similar circumstance.

The auction will run for two weeks and bidding will be through www.feelthemagic.org.au/chip-foose-auction

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 Unites Global Youth With One School One Country

Young people who have travelled to Abu Dhabi from across the globe to compete in the world championships of skills have spent their first morning meeting local school students, as part of a cultural exchange programme that promotes understanding between cultures and awareness of vocational skills.

One School One Country is a part of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, which starts formally with an opening ceremony on 14 October. The exchange has paired each WorldSkills team – from 59 countries and regions – with an individual local school.

Over recent months, students and WorldSkills competitors have been learning about each other’s cultures, traditions, and values – and today they met for the first time. Local students at the Al Ezza School in Baniyas East described their excitement about meeting the UK team in person. “WorldSkills means we can share our culture and skills with everyone and learn more about many things”, said year five student Salama Salim.

One School One Country is also a highlight for the competitors who travel to WorldSkills competitions. Ricardo Vivian from Brazil, who competed at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013, remembers it with fondness. “One School One Country really got me into the WorldSkills spirit,” he said. “It was my first opportunity to truly interact with the local culture in a very special way. It’s incredible how those children made us feel welcome in their country.”

One School One Country first took place at WorldSkills Shizuoka 2007 in Japan and has been held at every WorldSkills competition since. During today’s event, international visitors learned about the culture of the United Arab Emirates and the role skills have played in its development.

To see WorldSkills competitors meet their young Abu Dhabi hosts for the first time is an emotional experience that emphasises the power of forging relationships that know no borders,” said Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills.

“One School One Country demonstrates that the world can be as small and interconnected as we want to make it. Skills are uniting these young people, and this programme makes it possible for them to develop their knowledge and understanding of cultures and values beyond their own.”

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is being hosted by the Abu Dhabi Centre for Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET). The Director General of the organisation, Mubarak Al Shamsi, said:

“The UAE is a country of tolerance and coexistence, where many nationalities are living and working together in harmony. Consequently, the interaction between Emirati students and their international guests is in line with the local culture.

“The way in which our young future leaders have taken the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and reach out to their peers in other countries is a powerful expression of our belief that what unites us, far outweighs what divides us.

“This initiative falls within the framework of the vision of the UAE’s leadership, whose top priority is enhancing education, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as it is closely linked to creating a major shift at all economic and social levels.”

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is the 44th edition of the world championships of vocational skills. It is open to the public free of charge at ADNEC from 15 – 18 October.

As many as 1300 competitors will compete in 51 skills competitions, with international visitors expected to top 10,000 along with 100,000 local UAE visitors. The 59 competing teams are drawn from the 77 member countries and regions of WorldSkills.