Axalta Concludes Review Of Strategic Alternatives Due To COVID-19

Axalta’s board of directors has unanimously voted to conclude its review of strategic alternatives due to the dislocation in global markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the nine-month review, Axalta explored alternatives to maximise shareholder value, including a comprehensive sale process, as well as an evaluation of the company’s operating strategies, core underlying businesses and standalone value creation potential.

Following evaluation of these alternatives, the board determined that shareholders are best served by the ongoing execution of the company’s strategic plan.

Axalta communicated with more than 50 participants, including companies in the coatings, chemical and industrial sectors, as well as financial sponsors throughout the US, Europe, and Asia regarding a potential sale of the company or components of its business. Axalta signed non-disclosure agreements with 18 potential purchasers to facilitate due diligence.

“Although the process has concluded, our board will continue to evaluate all opportunities to enhance shareholder value,” said Mark Garrett, Axalta’s Chairman of the Board and Chair of its Strategic Review Committee. “I would like to thank Robert Bryant (Axalta President and CEO) and the management team for their hard work in the review process and for the excellent job they are doing to navigate Axalta through a global crisis. I’d also like to thank our employees for their relentless commitment and outstanding contributions to Axalta’s success.”

Bryant said Axalta has taken “swift and decisive action” to address the impact of COVID-19 on customer demand, including executing adjustments to Axalta’s cost structure.

“We believe the actions we are taking, coupled with a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity, will enable us to emerge from this crisis in a position of strength. Our top priority is the health of our employees, customers and communities. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take further action as appropriate,” said Bryant.

WIN Announces 2020 MIW Award Recipients

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) has announced the 2020 honourees for the Most Influential Women (MIW) award, presented to women who have notable achievements in the collision repair industry throughout their career.

Since 1999, over 90 women have been recognised for their contributions to the collision repair industry. WIN says it has reviewed many worthy applicants and chosen three industry leaders to receive the MIW honours:

  • Sandee Lindorfer, Director, Allstate Insurance
  • Christy Jones, Owner of R Jones Collision 1
  • Kristle Bollans, Director, Replacement Accounts, The Hertz Corporation

“It is an honour to recognise these three women this year as the most influential women in the collision repair industry,” said Marie Peevy, President Automotive Training Coordinators, a 2018 MIW honouree, and Co-Chair of the 2020 MIW committee. “They are strong women who support other women and are passionate about what they do. They have the ability to dream and transform while helping others in the industry, their communities and families.”

Sandee Lindorfer

Lindorfer began her career in collision repair as a co-owner of a collision repair shop, then worked for a large MSO and later began her insurance career at Allstate Insurance, where she is now Director. She has been awarded the company’s Distinguished Leadership Award on five different occasions, as well as its Courageous Leadership Award by her claims officer team.

She serves on the I-CAR Board of Directors, participated on the advisory boards for CCC, Mitchell and Cpart, has spoken at several collision repair industry events, and serves on the WIN membership committee and in numerous capacities with CREF. She is also a supporter of the WINGS Program, Inc., and GIGI, a non-profit organisation for children with down syndrome.

Christy Jones

Jones has worked in the collision industry for 19 years and is owner of R Jones Collision 1, becoming the first female shop owner in Des Moines. She currently serves as an advisory member to the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) collision programme, is an active member of WIN, a platinum member of SCRS and a Gold Pin member of CIC. She was Secretary of the Iowa Collision Repair Association from 2010–2018 and was a committee member for the Iowa I-CAR committee.

In 2019 she was accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business Iowa Cohort 2, has been an AkzoNobel Acoat Selected Sustaining Partner over 20 years, and was recently named one of the NAWBO Enterprising Women of the Year for Iowa in the US$1 to US$2 million category. In 2019, Jones and her friend supported Nyame Do, an educational facility in Ghana teaching women how to sew and to become independent when they graduate. They raised over US$6000 in one night and supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, raising over US$5000 for the cause.

Kristle Bollans

A collision industry veteran for 13 years, she received the Hertz Leadership Award in 2011, 2012 & 2013 – Hertz’s most coveted and prestigious award. Bollans said she considers it her duty and biggest responsibility to train, develop and mentor others within the business under her leadership at Hertz. She serves on the National Auto Body Board Council, on the WIN Planning Committee, and the Scholarship Selection Committee for CREF.

She is passionate about empowering women in all aspects of life and is also a committee member of Women Inspiring Leaders, Driving Execution and Results (W.I.L.D.E.R). From a community standpoint, she sits on the nurturing committee at her church, volunteers at the Homeless Support Service programme, has led giving campaigns to the National Cancer Society and the ASPCA, and volunteers her time as a teacher at 4K Sunday School.

AkzoNobel Releases 2019 Integrated Report

AkzoNobel has launched its digital report for 2019 which, according to the company, highlights the company’s progress over another year where it has focused on transformation, innovation and investment in the future.

The company says the website includes comprehensive coverage of its financial results, key business developments and several case studies with related videos which feature and highlight some of the year’s biggest success stories.

“We sent a strong message about our ability to achieve our financial ambition,” said Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel. “It was impressive to experience our internal momentum during the course of the year as we intensified our focus on dramatically stepping up our return on sales by the end of 2020.”

The online report has a revised sustainability section which is structured around the company’s new “People. Planet. Paint” approach. It gives a review of AkzoNobel’s sustainability performance and highlights the major progress made in areas such as total VOC emissions and absolute greenhouse gas emissions.

“Right across the organisation, from salespeople in Brazil, to operators in France and researchers in China, everyone has been fully focused on delivering for our customers, while helping the company to become the reference in paints and coatings,” said Vanlancker.

To view the 2019 report website, click here.

AkzoNobel Secures Supply Deal With BMW Group

The BMW Group has chosen AkzoNobel to be a supplier of vehicle refinish products and services to a large part of its distribution network around the world.

The agreement covers 44 locations and means that the company’s Sikkens and Lesonal brands are now approved for paint repairs of BMW and Mini passenger cars at authorised dealers, repairers, importers and national BMW Group branches.

“We’re delighted to begin working with the BMW Group,” said Patrick Bourguignon, Managing Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business. “We believe Sikkens and Lesonal are the perfect match to further enhance the customer service offer and efficiency of the BMW network.”

The locations covered by the new agreement are Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Moldovia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, Ukraine, Vietnam and Yemen.

Sherwin-Williams Will Build New Global HQ, R&D Centre In Ohio

Sherwin-Williams is finalising plans to build a new global headquarters, following an extensive competitive site selection process, in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and a new R&D centre in the Cleveland suburb of Brecksville.

The company says its plans require the completion of some standard due diligence, approval of incentives and other matters at the state, county and city levels. It will also resolve all business and legal matters tied to the investment project.

“Our plans to continue investing in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio build on our 154-year legacy as one of the region’s top employers and drivers of economic activity,” said John G. Morikis, Chairman and CEO of Sherwin-Williams. “Driven by our continued need to serve our customers at the highest level and retain and attract top talent, we intend to create a next-generation workplace environment that ignites creativity, collaboration and industry-leading innovation.

“We currently operate out of a 90-year-old headquarters building that has served us well but is no longer conducive to meeting our future needs. The major planned investment in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio reflects our confidence in the continued strength of the region and its people and our public partners’ ability to deliver on their commitments.”

The preliminary plans require Sherwin-Williams to invest a minimum of US$600 million to build both facilities. The new headquarters will be approximately one million square-feet (92,900 square metres) while the R&D centre, which will serve as the corporate anchor for a new mixed-use development project, will be about 500,000 square feet (46,450 square metres).

The two facilities will house over 3500 employees combined, with room to accommodate significant future growth. Sherwin-Williams estimates that a minimum of 400 jobs will be added at these facilities over time and that many of the jobs will include professional staff, engineers and chemists.

The transition to the new facilities isn’t expected until 2023 at the earliest.

Symach Provides Equipment To TDN Group

Symach has announced that its equipment and technology provided to TDN Group’s first facility in the United Kingdom are fully operational. TDN Group has also incorporated technology and safety equipment to calibrate advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and repair electric and hybrid vehicles.

“Since installing Symach’s unique FixLine process, we’ve found that it has helped us with efficiency in our facility,” said Jordan Fisher, Managing Director of AXIOM-UK, a TDN Group company. “The track system we installed creates a process and workflow that dramatically speeds up the movement of vehicles through the shop and Symach’s Drytronic technology fully cures paint in just [a] few seconds.”

Fisher said the equipment also allows the shop to quality-control repaired vehicles and reduce the risk of rework and customer complaints.

“We enjoyed working with TDN Group to set up their world-class facility in the UK,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, CEO of Symach. “Symach’s FixLine process and Drytronic technology will drastically reduce the cost and time of repairs at TDN Group’s shop.”

TDN Group was formed in 2014 as a paintless dent removal (PDR) company, offering physical dent repair as well as PDR-related training and accreditation, including tool development and sales, along with catastrophic hail repair. In 2019, AXIOM Accident & Hail Repair purchased 50 per cent of TDN Group’s shares.

“The CEO of AXIOM Accident & Hail Repair, Bill Park, had developed a hybrid solution for the body shop industry that he wanted to bring to the UK,” said Fisher. “This solution was to encompass PDR with Symach drying technology to dramatically reduce repair times and increase levels of quality.”

AXIOM Accident & Hail Repair had installed a FixStation at one of its sites in Colorado in 2018. It’s equipped with a Flydry robot, paint mixing room, a vacuum sanding system and a multi-box with plugs and retractable air and electrical supply. Since then, AXIOM-US said that the FixStation has provided continuous workflow throughout the shop, and the company is planning to install the equipment in every new site it opens in the UK and Europe. The facility is being set up as an onboarding centre and functional body shop.

Fisher said the vision for the AXIOM-UK brand is to open 25 body shops within five years.

Brand Finance Global 500 Names Ferrari As The Strongest Brand For Second Consecutive Year

Ferrari has been awarded the title of the world’s strongest brand for the second consecutive year by Brand Finance, an international independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. With a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94.1 out of 100, Ferrari received the top rank with an AAA+ rating.

Presented during the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 report calculates the value of the Ferrari brand at A$13.3 billion with a year on year growth of 9 per cent, boosted by positive sales and overall brand strength.

Brand Finance determines brand value by estimating the net economic benefit to the brand owner of licensing the trademark on the open market. It measures brand strength on the basis of the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures compared to its competitors.

PPG To Acquire Industria Chimica Reggiana

PPG has announced that it will acquire Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR), a manufacturer of paints and coatings for the automotive refinish and light industrial coatings industries. The company expects the deal to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, however it has not revealed financial terms.

Formed in 1961, ICR is based in Italy and manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats under the SPRINT brand. The company also makes a complete range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs approximately 180 people and sells its products in over 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Latin America.

“PPG’s acquisition of ICR will complement our current product offering for the automotive refinish and light industrial coatings industries and add specialised, value-added products that address the needs of distributors and body shops,” said Gary Danowski, PPG Vice President of Global Automotive Refinish. “We look forward to continuing to deliver the trusted products and services upon which ICR customers have come to rely [on], and we are very excited to welcome ICR employees to PPG.”

PPG Appoints New VP Of Global Automotive Refinish Coatings

PPG has announced that Chancey Hagerty, the current Vice President of Global Industrial Coatings, will become Vice President of Global Automotive Refinish Coatings in March.

Hagerty will report to Tim Knavish, PPG Executive Vice President, and continue to be a member of the Operating Committee. Hagerty will succeed Gary Danowski, who currently holds the position, when he retires in March.

“Gary has been the embodiment of a PPG leader throughout his 38-year career, a true team player who rose to any challenge,” said Michael H. McGarry, PPG Chairman and CEO. “His leadership in five businesses has strengthened the organisation and allowed PPG to serve customers in new ways. We thank Gary for his many years of tremendous service, and congratulate Chancey, Kevin and Andrew on their key leadership positions. We are pleased to have a talented group of leaders with broad, proven experience, which provides continuity in driving our global business strategies and delivering shareholder value.”

Hagerty joined PPG in 1996 at the company’s former chemicals plant in West Virginia and has since held various roles which include plant-engineer and sales for industrial coatings. Hagerty held multiple positions of increasing responsibility within both the industrial and automotive OEM coatings business units and was also the General Manager of Industrial Coatings, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in Switzerland before receiving his current position in January of 2019.

Luca De Meo Rumoured Lead In Renault CEO Race

Luca de Meo, an Italian who has worked at many European car manufacturers before running Volkswagen’s Spanish brand, SEAT, is being labelled the front-runner to become CEO of Renault, said people familiar with the matter.

De Meo has leadership experience in the automotive industry, diplomatic skills, speaks five languages, has helped freshen the model line-up at SEAT and has lead the company to profitability. De Meo has spent 25 years working for various European car manufacturers including Renault, Toyota, FCA, Volkswagen and SEAT, where he has since remained as Chairman on the Executive Committee.

Renault began the CEO search after removing Thierry Bollore, who held the position for under a year after the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in November 2018. Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has said that it would be more preferable to make a selection by the end of the year, but it will not be a problem if it takes longer.

While Renault is narrowing the list of candidates, no decision has been made and other contenders remain in the running, said people asking not to be identified over confidential matters. The company will complete its shortlist soon, before submitting it to the board for review, according to the sources.