Blackstone’s AMA Acquisition Scuttled By The ATO

Ruling For Demerger Relief Denies Acquisition

An adverse ruling by the ATO has torpedoed plans by private equity asset manager Blackstone to finalise its purchase of the 113 body shops owned by ASX-listed AMA Group.

Via a press release, AMA Group Limited advised that it had received a formal response from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation refusing its request for a Ruling for Demerger Relief.

In April, AMA Group Limited announced the demerger of its components, accessories and procurement business into an independently listed entity, and the purchase of the post-demerger AMA Group, which essentially included its crash repair businesses, by private equity asset manager Blackstone for $508 million.

The demerger was proposed to allow the two divisions to adopt the most suitable capital structure and focus on their fundamental proficiencies.

The AMA Board said they were disappointed with the decision, but the business has continued to perform strongly and is still on target with the market guidance released earlier in the year.

In the first half of financial year 2018, the collision repair side accounted for nearly $200 million of the group’s revenue versus $27 million of the other units.

Martin Stone Receives AM In Queens Birthday Honours

Charitable Work Recognised In Honours

Sheen Group Owner and Director, Martin Stone, has been made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Stone received the honour for his service to the community through support of charitable organisations, and to the automotive industry.

Stone has made a significant contribution to several charities over many years, including Variety, Life Education Australia, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.

In addition to operating Sheen Group, Stone is also a long-time member of VACC and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

As well his AM, Stone is a three-time recipient of the Dick Smith Award for the highest fundraiser in Victoria (2013, 2015 and 2016), and was the second highest fundraiser for the same award in 2014.

Heartfelt congratulations from all of us at BodyShop News Australia.

Car Manufacturer Use of the Word ‘Autonomous’ Dangerous: Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued an urgent call to car manufacturers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists. The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing while over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

The risks to drivers have been outlined in the new ‘Assisted and Automated Driving Definition and Assessment’ paper, which has identified dangerous grey areas associated with some driver support technologies. These include misleading names, like Autopilot and ProPilot, given to systems by car manufacturers, how and when drivers should take back control of their vehicles and systems which are designed to work in specific situations only (e.g. on motorways) but can also function anywhere.

Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research said, “We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own. Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances. Fully Automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.”

Avery continues, “It begins with how systems are named and described across car manufacturer marketing materials and the driver’s handbook. Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can. Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said, “Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”

Axalta Celebrates the Winners of the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting

Axalta Coating Systems congratulates the seven men and women who showed exemplary drive and determination at Australia’s largest vocational education competition, the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting. The competition was held at Skills Show Australia 2018, from 2 – 4 June at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney, with Kaine Corpuz from Queensland being crowned the best vehicle painter in Australia.

As Gold Partner and long term supporter of WorldSkills Australia, Axalta has been fully focused on supporting each competitor’s journey to become the best vehicle refinisher in Australia.

In June competitors Aidan Hasler, Lional Stapleton, Maxine Colligan, Kaine Corpuz, Luke Alexander, Amber Gabelich and Kyle Little took on the greatest challenge of their lives at the WorldSkills National Championship. They all demonstrated extreme calm under very challenging conditions. And, despite the strict marking criteria for each module, the competitors were all able to complete each stage successfully, showcasing their mastery in refinishing, from spot repairs right through to the intricate panel design work, including colour matching accuracy.

“For more than 10 years Axalta has strived to mentor and nurture all up and coming talent with product training, providing exposure to the latest work practices and techniques, problem solving, development of teamwork and leadership skills,” said Paul Polverino, National Training Manager for Axalta. “To see these extraordinary young men and women excel under such challenging circumstances, whilst producing outstanding levels of craftsmanship, was an absolute delight to watch.

“Axalta’s passion for our industry and desire to secure its future through young professionals is what drives us at Axalta” said Polverino. “We are very proud to support these exceptional young Australians and provide them with new opportunities for growth. We especially would like to wish Kaine Corpuz, whose goal is to represent Australia in 2019 at the 45th WorldSkills International Competition in Kazan, Russia, the best of luck!”

Nippon Paint Arrives In Australia

Nippon Paint, Asia’s number one Paints and Coatings group, has partnered with AHG to bring its globally recognised paint brand to Australian shores.

Nippon Paint, the fourth largest coatings group globally in terms of revenue and Asia’s No.1 Paints and Coatings Company, said it is pleased to introduce its world class, state-of-the-art automotive refinish brands to Australia.

Established in 1881, the Nippon Paint group said it is well recognised for its advanced paint technology, innovative brands and customer focus. With a strong impetus on smash repair shop productivity and eco friendliness, the group’s refinish products are widely used by many of the world’s most preferred car brands.

“Our foray into the Australian market is a natural extension of the group’s endeavour to provide [the] best of the products and services to discerning customers. Our extensive portfolio, powered by Japanese technology and refined through international experience provides ideal, comprehensive solutions to meet Australian market requirements,” said Shae Toh Hock, Senior Vice President of the NIPSEA Group, the subsidiary of Nippon Paint Holding Co., Ltd., Japan that is spearheading the Australian venture.

Nippon Paint has partnered with AHG, Australia’s largest motoring group, to bring its products and solutions to the market. Represented under the trade name ‘Perfect Finishes Australia’ (PFA), the collaboration complements what is already an extensive automotive portfolio for AHG and looks to enhance the car refinishing segment of Australia’s automotive aftermarket industry, besides providing great products for the commercial vehicles and light industrial customer segments.

“Our partnership with AHG provides an ideal platform to introduce our Leading, Eco-friendly, Accelerated, Performance (LEAP) solutions and products to the Australian market,” said Diwakar Mehrotra, NIPSEA Group’s Automotive Refinishes Business Director for Australia and New Zealand. “Developed using top of the line Japanese technology, our focus is on compliance, productivity and performance, to ensure value enhancement across the entire trade chain.”

The product solutions bring to the Australian market the latest developments in Nippon Paint’s Japanese waterborne technology, which have key attributes such as ease of application, ease of colour matching and a refinishing product to match original coatings used by some of the world’s top OEMs.

“We have partnered with Nippon Paint because we saw a significant opportunity to bring products and solutions to the Australian market that provide overwhelming benefits to the customer. Its ease of application provides time efficiencies as well as better colour matching results for both spray painters and vehicle owners,” said Martin Watts, General Manager of PFA.

Based in Sydney with a national sales and technical team and plans underway for establishing a colour lab, PFA already has stocks of a large repertoire of the latest paint and non-paint solutions. PFA is now looking and working to broaden its customer reach through a dedicated distributor network and progressive distribution strategies.

“We are confident that the Australian market will get behind our brand due to its ease of application, great quality and not to mention its widespread success in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Watts.

“We are already starting to see a strong brand following with shop trials and installations, and also the feedback flowing on from the official launch of Nippon Paint at Autocare in May 2018.”

Supported by a national distribution network, PFA in partnership with Nippon Paint will provide customers with full technical support, advanced colour retrieval tools and IT based solutions, as well as national warehousing and distribution capabilities for the Nippon Paint system and product portfolio.

For further information on Nippon Paint’s complete range of automotive refinishing paints and solutions or to enquire about becoming a PFA distributor, contact PFA on 02 8795 8588 or visit

I-CAR Awards Gold Class Status To Keith Burrows Auto Body Repairs, NSW

I-CAR Australia’s Gold Class Co-ordinator, Gary Wood, announced that Keith Burrows Auto Body Repairs, in Brookvale, NSW, has been awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status.

“We are very proud to have achieved I-CAR Gold Class status and thank the team at I-CAR Australia for providing such a well-structured training programme. This has allowed us the opportunity to commit to ongoing training which ensures our team stays up to date with motor vehicle technology, broadening their skills and knowledge on repair and refinishing processes to deliver quality workmanship” said Sharon Bendall.

“Having been active members with I-CAR Australia for over six years, Keith Burrows Auto Body Repairs entered the Road To Gold program 24 months ago. The company’s commitment to the training programme ensures that the entire staff are trained to the highest level within the collision repair sector, and the business is well positioned to deal with the new technology and materials found on today’s vehicles. Well done to all those involved, it is very well deserved,” added Wood.

The 2018 PPG Colour Matching Competition

Calling all automotive spray painting apprentices!

Do you have what it takes to be a colour matching champion?

The PPG Colour Matching Competition (for apprentices) is on again and you are invited.

There will be regional and state competitions starting soon. Test yourself against the best, get bragging rights on your mates and you could win through to represent your state in this year’s national final in Brisbane.

And there are cool prizes to be won, including gift vouchers, SATA spray equipment and MIRKA tools.

Will it be you this year?

Limited spots are available so find out more by speaking to your training provider.

Win Tickets To Meguiar’s MotorEx

3M announced it’s bringing renowned car designer and TV star Chip Foose to headline Meguiar’s MotorEx at the Melbourne Showgrounds May 26-27, 2018.

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 4 ‘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’s 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 program 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

BodyShop News is giving you the chance to win four double passes to MotorEx.

Email [email protected] with the answer to this question: ‘What was the brand featured on the cover of the April 2018 edition of BodyShop News Australia’.

VACC Names Victoria’s Best Body Repairers

Twenty-four Victorian body repair businesses have been named as finalists for the 2018 VACC Industry Awards. VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, said the awards demonstrated members’ commitment to quality.

“Short-listed from a record 276 entries, the cream has risen to the top in 2018, VACC’s centenary year. These finalists are the best in the Victorian automotive industry,” he said. “VACC was overwhelmed by the number of entries received from all over Victoria this year. Judging these entrants and narrowing down the field to the finalists was not an easy task.”

Ten expert judges evaluated entries based on customer service, professional and technical development, industry improvement, and environmental and occupational health and safety. To ensure that only the finest of VACC’s more than 5000 members would be announced as category winners, an independent standards representative audited the judging.

“VACC wishes all of the finalists the best of luck and recommends these businesses to Victorian motorists,” said Gwilym.

Category winners will be announced at a black tie gala evening, featuring master of ceremonies Mike Munro and a stellar line-up of entertainers, headed by Kate Ceberano, on Saturday 23 June at the Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Best Body Repairer – Passenger Vehicle (Small Business)

 Bayside Smash Repairs
 CAARS Smash Repairs
 Essendon Panels
 Showroom Finish Smash Repairs

Best Body Repairer – Passenger Vehicle (Large Business)

5 Star Panels
 Complete Body Craft
 CPK McLaren MotorBody
 Learmonth Road Smash Repairs
 LP Body Works
 Lyons Body Works
 Melville Body Works
 Morello Panels
 Northway Smash Repairs
 Paint & Custom Workshop
 Prossers Panel Beating
 Sheen Panel Service
 Sheen Panel Service Bayswater
 Sheen Panel Service Bulleen
 Sheen Panel Service Hoppers Crossing
 Specialised Collision Repair Centre
 Stylefinish Auto Body
 Super Tek Collision Repairs

Best Commercial Vehicle Body Repairer

 Complete Truck Bodies
 Royans Melbourne

Victorian Government Boosts Trade Training

The Victorian state government has allocated $172 million for 30 free TAFE and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses in its 2018/19 budget. The courses include Certificate II in Automotive Body Repair and Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation. An additional allocation of $304 million has been set for new classes and 30,000 TAFE places.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said the new funding will help solve the state’s skills shortage.

“We have to recognise that there are people out there who have skills and aptitudes who should be appropriately rewarded and the government needs to pay a substantial part in skilling those capacities,” he said.

“As we make these investments we would anticipate that we would see more and more people attracted to the technical skills and activities.”

Overseas and interstate students can apply for the courses, though the government says most students will be Victorian. Students who are already studying are ineligible.

The courses run for up to two years and will be reviewed annually.

Described by Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, as the biggest overhaul of TAFE, skills and training in Victoria’s history, the program also includes $50 million to fund an additional year at school for trade students. These students will now gain their trade qualification and VCE in an apprenticeships and traineeships program to be rolled out at 100 public schools.

The government will also create two new regional education centres at Bendigo Kangan Institute McCrae campus and the Federation Training campus at Port of Sale, while Federation Training’s Morwell campus will receive a substantial upgrade.