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 Coating Systems Appoints President Global Refinish

Joseph F. McDougall has been named Senior Vice President and President, Global Refinish at Axalta Coating Systems. In this new role at the company, McDougall will be responsible for Axalta’s global refinish business which provides coatings, application technologies and service and support resources to customers in the collision repair and vehicle aftermarket sectors in more than 130 countries.

“Joe brings a unique set of skills to this new position at Axalta including a strong knowledge of our business, our strategy and our customers,” said Axalta Chairman and CEO Charlie Shaver. “The refinish marketplace, a key component of our Performance Coatings business, is evolving and creating opportunities for growth at Axalta. Joe will be able to harness our global technology, product and human resources to fully take advantage of these trends and provide our customers with world-class support while enhancing Axalta’s productivity.”

McDougall joined Axalta in 2013 as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and subsequently assumed additional responsibilities, which he will continue to oversee, for Corporate Affairs, Global Branding and Sustainability initiatives. He has been responsible for developing the company’s global organization structure, corporate culture, talent acquisition and development and has been part of Axalta’s leadership team. In his new position, he will work closely with Axalta’s regional refinish management organizations to increase synergies and support the development and execution of long term growth strategies.

Fix Auto Osborne Park, Western Australia Joins Fix Auto Network

Head of Business for Fix Auto Australia Terry Feehan is pleased to announce that Fix Auto Osborne Park, owned and operated by Tony and Steve LoPrestri, is the latest shop to join the Australian Fix Auto network.

Tony LoPresti, a seasoned industry professional, opened his first panel shop in 1971. In 1992, after moving several times as his business continued to expand, he found a permanent home in Osborne Park and founded D&T Panel Beating. Over the following years, D&T went on to become one of the most trusted collision repair facilities in the area. Following in his father’s footsteps, son Steve decided to join the industry, completed his apprenticeship and in 2007, joined his father as a partner in the business.

Family values are of real importance to the father and son team that operate Fix Auto Osborne Park. Tony has a lifelong passion for cars and the collision repair business was a way for him to fulfill his passion, while providing for his family.

As experienced collision repair professionals, Tony and Steve were very aware of how rapidly the Australian collision repair market is evolving. For their business to continue to grow and remain a market leader in Western Australia, they realised they needed to stay ahead of the curve. “We joined Fix Auto due to the changing dynamics between work providers and repairers. Although it was hard, we decided to make the change from D&T Panel Beating to Fix Auto Osborne Park so we can continue to grow this business that we love,” said Tony.

The franchise model offered by Fix Auto really appealed to Tony and Steve’s entrepreneurial spirit. It has allowed them to remain in control of their business, while receiving unparalleled levels of support, otherwise unavailable to both independent repairers and those affiliated to corporate networks. The tools and support offered by Fix Auto, combined with the network’s proven track record in driving industry innovation, were key factors in the LoPrestis’ decision to join the leading global body shop network.

Steve added, “We believe that in partnership with Fix Auto we can continue to get bigger and better. We provide great service to our customers. The quality of the repair is also capital to us. We aim to make the whole experience as easy as possible for our customers. We offer pick up and drop off of vehicles and courtesy cars. We believe our values are really compatible with Fix Auto’s.

Head of Business Terry Feehan welcomes this new addition to the family, saying “I am delighted to see Tony, Steve and their skilled team join the Fix Auto network. Their family-grown passion and care for their customers are perfectly in line with our mission, and we wish them the very best in this new chapter with us.”

ANCAP Appoints Former Insurance Chief, Andy Cornish To Its Board Of Directors

The strength of the ANCAP Board has grown with the appointment of Independent Director, Andy Cornish.

“Andy’s appointment builds on the existing strengths of the ANCAP Board, bringing to the table a strong commercial perspective which will enhance the relevance and applicability of ANCAP’s work,” said ANCAP Chair, Wendy Machin. Cornish previously held the position of Personal Insurance Chief Executive at IAG from 2014 to 2016 and Direct Insurance Chief from 2009 to 2014. Prior to that he served as Managing Director of NIG Insurance, Direct Line Group and RBS Group, and as Chief Executive of Green Flag Group Limited – the United Kingdom’s third largest motor breakdown organisation.

“With his extensive experience across the insurance and automotive assistance sectors both in Australia and abroad, Andy is well positioned to assist with the governance and oversight of our organisation,” Machin said. “I am certain Andy will play an important role in leading Australasia’s independent vehicle safety authority into its next phase.”

Cornish began his term as Independent Director this September, attending an ANCAP crash test in Sydney.

“I am excited to join the ANCAP Board at such an important time for the organisation, and the test witnessed today highlights the vital role ANCAP plays in effecting change in vehicle safety through industry encouragement and consumer advocacy,” Cornish said.

Australasian Road Safety Veteran Appointed Chairman Of Global NCAP

Long-time road safety advocate and former ANCAP Chairman, Lauchlan McIntosh AM, has been elected as Chairman of the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) replacing retiring Chairman, Max Mosley. Current ANCAP Chair, Wendy Machin congratulated McIntosh on his appointment, “Lauchlan has been a dedicated advocate for road safety for decades – both in Australia and beyond,” she said.

“As a member of the Global NCAP Board of Trustees since its formation, he has been pivotal in encouraging collaboration amongst NCAPs around the world, and his appointment to Chairman will no doubt accelerate this for the betterment of consumers in all regions. We would encourage Lauchlan to use his time as Global NCAP Chairman to take the lead in assisting NCAPs to share their knowledge and experience,” Machin said.

“We all share a common goal to reduce the road toll through safer vehicles, whether that be through consumer information, industry encouragement or regulatory assistance, and we can accelerate road safety outcomes through increased collaboration,” Machin said. “I would like to thank Max Mosley for the guidance he has provided to Global NCAP during his time as Chairman. Important vehicle safety initiatives undertaken under his leadership have highlighted the need for non-regulatory pressure to effect faster change, particularly in emerging mobility markets.”

“It is pleasing to see vehicle safety is now at the forefront of minds in these regions,” Machin said.

Lauchlan McIntosh was the Inaugural Chairman of ANCAP, involved in the program from 1994 to 2016.

Thierry Vanlancker Appointed To The Board At AkzoNobel

At an extraordinary general meeting, shareholders of Akzo Nobel appointed new CEO Thierry Vanlancker as a member of the Board of Management.

Vanlancker was already appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by the Supervisory Board in July. He succeeded Ton Büchner who left AkzoNobel at the same time.

Antony Burgmans, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, commented: “Thierry is an outstanding executive who is well placed to take AkzoNobel forward. This includes the creation of two focused businesses, delivering sustainable growth and profitability.”

Before taking up the role of CEO, Thierry was head of Specialty Chemicals at AkzoNobel, having joined the company in 2016. Prior to joining AkzoNobel he was President Fluoroproducts for Chemours, the spin-off company of DuPont’s chemical businesses formed in 2015.

Get Your Ezi Methods From Car Craft

Ezi Methods parent company, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd (AIC) has signed an agreement with the Car Craft Group to exclusively distribute Ezi Methods to the auto body repair industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Ezi-Methods provides OEM based smash repair methods and information via a user friendly and cost effective on-line solution.

Based on a “three clicks to method” operation, the Ezi-Methods system ensures that vital technical information required to undertake safe and cost-effective repairs is readily available to Estimators, Assessors, and Technicians. Ezi-Methods is also available via mobile applications to eradicate additional print costs and downtime. Ezi-Methods is also supported by an additional methods request service, a 24-hour service providing additional data where required.

Car Craft Group General Manager, Peter McMahon, said: “The opportunity to distribute the Ezi Methods system to the industry is an exciting move for the group. The relationship is an excellent fit with the groups philosophy on repair quality and correct method. The Ezi Methods program also has the added benefit of assisting repairers meet the AMBRA National Shop Grading requirements and complying with the MVIRI Code of Conduct.”

McMahon went on to say: “The need to confirm the method before you write a quote is a no-brainer for me. Access to a quality repair information platform is critical to the efficiency of a repairs and key to key times”.

AIC Commercial Director Ben Cardy said: “Teaming up with a major industry player like Car Craft will further enhance Ezi-Methods in Australia and New Zealand, this is a great opportunity for all repairers in the Australian market to get the benefits of accessing methods of repair which, in today’s environment, is vital in ensuring the vehicles are returned to pre-accident condition”.

Call (08) 6253 7207 or email ezimethods@methods.net.au

IAG Retreats From Asia; To Focus On ANZ

insurance company IAG has called time on plans to expand in Asia, with unfavourable market conditions there seeing the group return its focus to its core markets of Australia and New Zealand.

IAG spent 18 months looking for ways to establish itself and expand in Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia and India, but such opportunities did not present themselves according to CEO Peter Harmer.

IAG had originally predicted that in the space of one year, from 2015 to 2016, 10 percent of total revenue would come to be derived from operations in Asia. However, this proved to be optimistic, with revenue from Asia only making up four percent of total income in 2016 and three percent this year.

Earnings this financial year fell from $26 million to $10 million, with the company blaming increasing competition and more stringent regulatory rules for the drop.

Harmer said that the company isn’t likely to make any further investment into Asia in the short term, with the company looking at its main markets of Australia and New Zealand for further growth.

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 Hailed An Absolute Success

The world’s best skills competitors have been honoured with medals at the Closing Ceremony of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. They traveled from across the world to compete at the 44th edition of the world championship of vocational skills. BodyShop News Publisher, Michel Malik, was there.

China led the medal table with 15 gold medals, seven silvers and eight bronzes. Korea came second on medal points with eight golds, eight silvers and eight bronzes. Switzerland was third on points, winning 11 golds, six silvers, and three bronzes. The hosts, the United Arab Emirates, won three Medallions for Excellence.

About 1300 young people from 59 WorldSkills member countries and regions showcased their talent across 51 skills competitions. Held between 15-18 October, this was the first time that the WorldSkills Competition was conducted in the Middle East and North Africa region.

At the closing ceremony at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi, 10,000 international visitors along with an online global audience watched competitors discover who had won gold, silver and bronze WorldSkills medals.

Below are the winners in the autobody and refinish divisions.

AUTOBODY REPAIR (sponsored by Glasurit, SATA and 3M)

Gold Silver Bronze
Shanwei Yang Heiko Zumbrunn Andrew Gault
China Switzerland United Kingdom

 

 

 

CAR PAINTING (sponsored by Car-O-Liner and 3M)

Gold Silver Bronze Bronze Bronze
Yingcheng Jiang Daryl Head Maurus von Holzen Jonas Heinze Enzo Barragato
China UK Switzerland Germany France

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 was the largest WorldSkills Competition to date, attracting more than 125,000 visitors.

The Closing Ceremony of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 ended with the handover of the WorldSkills flag to the next hosts, WorldSkills Kazan 2019. The 45th WorldSkills competition will be held in Russia from 29 August – 3 September 2019 in Kazan, Russia.

Read the full story in the next issue of BodyShop News.

Autobody Repair 2017 Winners

Car Painting 2017 Winners

Some pictures courtesy of WorldSkills 2017

New Report Says Australia’s Automotive Industry Is Here To Stay

The first comprehensive analysis in three years of the nation’s automotive industry has been launched by Senator Nick Xenophon at Parliament House, Canberra.

Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry: An Industry Report 2017 was produced by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), in partnership with the Motor Trades Association of Australia and its state MTA member organisations. The report reveals that car dealers operate on 2.6 per cent profit margins, the automotive industry employs 379,365 people and electric vehicles make up 0.01 per cent of the nation’s fleet.

At a time of unprecedented industry change, the report also uncovers the automotive industry’s economic contribution to the nation, business operating conditions, and provides detailed analysis of skills shortages and training requirements, along with insights into the direction automotive is headed.

VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, said a key finding in the report is that Australia’s automotive industry is here to stay. 

“Passenger vehicle manufacturing will cease in October this year, but that is, and always has been, a small component of the entire automotive industry, which is still very robust with 69,365 businesses operating across the country,” said Gwilym.

Key findings:

   * The automotive industry contributes $37.1 billion to the Australian economy (2.2 per cent of GDP).
   * Automotive repair and maintenance businesses account for 54.0 per cent of the automotive industry; the next largest sector is motor vehicle retailing at 8.3 per cent.
   * Automotive vehicle and parts manufacturing accounts for 4.4 per cent of the industry.
   * 96.5 per cent of automotive businesses are small and family run enterprises.
   * 41.9 per cent of auto businesses are run by sole proprietors; 54.6 per cent employ 1-19 employees.
   * The average age of Australia’s vehicle fleet is 10.1 years.
   * 800,000 registered vehicles (excluding motorcycles) were scrapped between 2015 and 2016.
   * Profit margins for repair/maintenance businesses in 2015/16 were 12.2 per cent; fuel retailing was 2.4 per cent.
   * There are 69 vehicle marques operating in Australia, amongst the most in the world.