Fix Network Announces Global Partnership With SATA

Fix Network World has added SATA as one of its official global supply partners. Fix Network says it hopes to continue expanding its operations worldwide in order to build stronger partnerships with industry-leading suppliers.

SATA says it will supply Fix Network with a mix of its systems aimed at delivering industry-leading performance.

“Fix Network is working hard to deliver a quality supply chain offering to its members,” said Steve Leal, President & CEO of Fix Network World. “This global agreement with SATA is reflective of our ongoing objective to provide best in class, safe solutions to our locations so they can provide an elite experience for their customers.”

“SATA is committed to supporting the fundamentally changing collision industry with state-of-the-art paint application solutions, thus contributing to professional and safe repairs,” said Albrecht Kruse, CEO of SATA. “Our cooperation with the global Fix Network goes hand in hand with our mission to assist the industry in best adapting to the ever-increasing complexities of modern repair processes.”

SATA will become the fourth aftermarket specialist to join Fix Network’s supply chain partnerships, which currently include 3M, AkzoNobel and Mirka.

Fix Network World Celebrates “The Power Of One” At 2019 Global Conference

Fix Network World celebrated its 2019 global conference earlier this month at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, with approximately 350 people from 14 countries (Canada, USA, UK, France, Turkey, China, Australia, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Mexico and the Czech Republic) attending.

The event, for which the theme was “The Power of One”, was the first of its kind in that it united delegates from across all three of Fix Network World’s aftermarket services brands: NOVUS Glass, Fix Auto and Speedy Auto Service. According to organisers, the theme was chosen specifically to recognise and celebrate not only the power and potential of each franchisee, but as a tribute to the strength of one network coming together.

The event kicked off with a welcome cocktail on 2 May, followed by a one and a half day business conference featuring corporate updates, franchisee and work provider panel discussions, and keynotes from special guest speakers Mitch Lowe, co-founding Executive of Netflix and CEO of MoviePass, as well as Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at GM Canada and author of The Uber of Everything. Bringing together both business and leisure, the conference also featured social activities and networking opportunities, such as the Fix Network World Beach Party and organised group excursions. The event concluded with a gala evening and awards ceremony acknowledging the work of franchisees from around the world.

Fix Network World President, Steve Leal, said uniting the networks and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments is important.

“Our global family of entrepreneurs is united by a passion for quality and success,” said Leal. “Their appetite to adapt to change is what drives us at Fix Network World, and it is the very reason we put this event together, as a celebration and opportunity for continued growth.”

Amongst guests were franchisees, staff, industry specialists and VIP guests, as well as representatives from Fix Network World’s four global supply partners: 3M, AkzoNobel, Mirka and SATA.

Fix Network World Announces Launch Of Fix Auto Masters Programme

Fix Network World has announced the launch of Fix Auto Masters, an all-new technical skills and knowledge competition programme aimed at “celebrating the skills of technicians” from across the global Fix Auto network. The first region to take part in the Fix Auto Masters programme is Fix Auto UK.

Fix Network World Operations Manager Nick Spiers says he believes a platform such as Fix Auto Masters is an important step in showcasing the talent of front-line technicians, while helping create a closer global community within the Fix Auto network.

“At Fix Network World, our people are the key to our success, and celebrating skills and performance is something we are most passionate about,” said Spiers. “Many of our technicians around the world have been instrumental in our growth and continue to have an important impact on our consistent performance. This is our way of recognising them and bringing together the best of the best.”

The programme is also supported by Thatcham Research in collaboration with 3M and AkzoNobel. Fix Network World says it is designed to measure performance in one of three categories: M.E.T., body repair and paint. Qualifying applicants will first undergo a written exam and those with the highest scores will move on to a practical assessment. The top performer in each category will be presented an award by Fix Network World at Fix Auto UK’s upcoming national conference, while automatically qualifying for the future global Fix Auto World Masters competition.

“It’s a great pleasure to support the Fix Auto Masters programme,” said Dean Lander, Head of Repair Sector Services at Thatcham Research. “We are delighted to be developing the tests and assessments to recognise the skills and dedication of body shop technicians.”

The programme is being rolled out nationally by Fix Auto UK, making the group the first region to launch a national search for top talent in its network.

“The Fix Auto Masters programme will provide us with the opportunity to show our colleagues from overseas who make up the global Fix Auto family just how skilled we are here in the UK,” said Fix Auto UK’s Ian Pugh.

More Fix Auto Masters regional launches will be announced in 2019. For more information on the Fix Auto Masters programme, visit fixauto.com.

AkzoNobel Increases Support For The HD Repair Forum

AkzoNobel Coatings has increased its support of the HD Repair Forum by joining Navistar as one of the two exclusive Elite Sponsors for the 2019 event, to be held on 2-3 April in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company was a premier sponsor at the inaugural conference in 2018 and hosted its spring 20-Group meeting alongside the heavy-duty collision conference.

“The company’s involvement and enthusiasm for the heavy-duty industry was obvious. Attendees knew their products and were proud to discuss the benefits they received from being involved with AkzoNobel,” said Brian Nessen, President and Co-Founder of the HD Repair Forum.

Jimmy Harris, co-facilitator to AkzoNobel’s 20-Group, said members find great value in attending the HD Repair Forum.

“At our autumn meeting in 2018, members voted unanimously to once again host the spring meeting upon completion of this conference,” he said.

Nessen said having the group for 2019 confirmed the importance of bringing the industry together.

“We are pleased to hear of their enthusiasm and take pride in being able to further assist this already strong segment of the industry. Their decision supports the ongoing plan for industry collaboration and fits with the direction of the HD Repair Forum, to bring the heavy-duty repair industry together for education and networking.”

The HD Repair Forum is a dedicated resource of heavy-duty collision repair information for shop owners, managers, estimators, appraisers, insurance personnel, manufacturers, educators, and consultants.

At this year’s event, heavy-duty collision repair professionals from across North America will gather to obtain information on the latest trends and industry issues, and discuss the latest technology, solution-based services, and training opportunities.

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Event Schedule:

Tuesday 2 April
7:00am: Registration
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference
5:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking Reception

Wednesday 3 April
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference

Thursday 4 April
AkzoNobel’s 20-Group Meeting

Early-bird registration is available until 9 February. To register visit hdrepairforum.com/hd-repair-forum-2019/register. For more information about the conference, visit www.hdrepairforum.com.

AkzoNobel And McLaren Celebrate 10-Year Partnership

AkzoNobel and McLaren celebrated 10 years of collaboration at the SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas, Nevada, last month.

The partnership began in 2008 when AkzoNobel became the official supplier of paint solutions for McLaren Racing. McLaren has used the company’s premium Sikkens brand for its Formula 1 cars ever since.

AkzoNobel has also been a technology partner to McLaren Automotive since 2012, with all McLaren road cars being fully painted in the company’s products.

“Working with partners like McLaren is a perfect example of our commitment to delivering cutting-edge innovation,” said Keith Malik, Key Account Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business. “We’re proud to have partnered with them for 10 years and demonstrate our shared passion for high performance technologies and performance.”

Simon Roberts, Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Racing, said: “Our decade-long relationship with AkzoNobel has led us to new innovations, scientific and sustainable advancements and quality finishes. Their longevity in the marketplace, coupled with the technology we’ve developed together, has helped us in our ongoing pursuit of high performance, and we’re thrilled to call AkzoNobel our partner.”

The livery for this season’s MCL33 F1 car has made an impact, with the Papaya Spark colour scheme winning a BBC poll for best-looking car.

Axalta’s Charlie Shaver To Lead Specialty Chemicals After Sale Completion

Charles “Charlie” Shaver will join Specialty Chemicals from Axalta, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He will step down as CEO of Axalta on 4 September but will remain Chairman of the Board.

In its strategy to separate Specialty Chemicals from its Paints and Coatings business, AkzoNobel announced in March 2018 that it had agreed to sell its Specialty Chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC. Upon completion of the transaction, expected before the end of 2018, Shaver will head the new company as Chief Executive Officer.

Shaver brings more than 35 years in leadership roles across the global chemical industry. His appointment is subject to completion of the transaction.

AkzoNobel Puts The Blue Back Into Bluebird

The restoration of Donald Campbell’s record-breaking hydroplane, Bluebird, is complete thanks to AkzoNobel and its marine brand, International, which supplied the project with Perfection Pro paint in the vessel’s original shade of blue.

“We spent 10 years being supplied with samples of nearly, but not-quite versions of Bluebird blue, RAL 5009, however it wasn’t until we uncorked our tins of Perfection Pro that we actually clapped eyes on her true colour. Now that was impressive,” said Bluebird restoration project leader, Bill Smith.

Bluebird crashed on Coniston Water in 1967. Decades later, diver and enthusiast Smith took a keen interest in the story and conducted extensive searches over a period of four years. He located and salvaged the wreckage in 2001. Together with a team of volunteers, Smith restored Bluebird at a workshop in the northeast of England.

The hydroplane was blasted and coated with AkzoNobel’s International Interzinc 72 protective coating and Interpon 610 TGIC-free polyester powder coating. The bodywork was rebuilt and completed using Cromadex 903 Etch Primer, Cromadex 750 Grey Primer and International Perfection Pro yacht topcoat.

“I’m very proud that we’re able to be part of this incredible restoration project,” said Chris Panton, Area Sales Manager, AkzoNobel Cromadex Newcastle. “The Cromadex team has been a part of the project for several years, supplying various products from AkzoNobel’s extensive portfolio of liquid and powder coatings.”

Fifty years after Campbell died trying to break his own water speed record, Bluebird is making a return to the water this UK summer. The hydroplane will be taken to Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute in Scotland for personnel training in launching, landing, lifting, and piloting, as well as to check for hull leaks. Eventually the team hopes to display the boat at speed on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

AkzoNobel Combines Digital Tools For Better Colour-Matching

A new standard in quick and reliable advanced colour-matching is available to vehicle body shops after AkzoNobel combined two of its most innovative tools into a single system.

The new offering combines the company’s Automatchic hand-held spectrophotometer with its MIXIT digital colour retrieval technology. Now known as Automatchic in MIXIT, the system creates a single, seamless workflow which allows customers to precisely identify any colour from an ever-expanding database of more than two million.

“We’re always looking for new ways to help our vehicle refinish customers access digital colour technology and gain maximum advantage from our expertise,” explained Peter Tomlinson, Director of AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business.

“Our huge cloud database of more than two million colours means we can provide the perfect colour match and formula, optimized for any individual vehicle. With Automatchic in MIXIT, customers can now measure and match colour with superior accuracy even faster, making it a valuable asset for any vehicle refinish body shop.”

Tailor-made to streamline operations, Automatchic in MIXIT’s ability to improve both accuracy and speed helps to increase profitability and throughput while reducing waste. This is part of AkzoNobel’s commitment to deliver 100 per cent digital colour solutions for its vehicle refinishes customers.

For more information, visit Colorvation.com

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.

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.”