PPG May Bid For Axalta, Faces Competition

According to Reuters, PPG Industries has partnered with private equity investor Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to consider acquiring Axalta Coating Systems.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters said joining forces with the buyout firm would enable PPG to get around any regulatory concerns which could be raised by an acquisition. The sources said the parties are considering establishing a consortium which could also include the likes of Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, along with US investment management firm BlackRock, to carry out the deal. However, should the parties go ahead with the planned approach, they could have some competition from Platinum Equity and Koch Industries, with the sources telling Reuters the pair have held talks about partnering on a bid.

A sale of Axalta was first reported back in June, when the company began a review of strategic alternatives in an attempt to “generate value for shareholders”. However, the sources cautioned that there is no guarantee of a sale of Axalta taking place. Axalta rebuffed acquisition approaches in 2017 from Akzo Nobel and Nippon Paint Holdings.

Axalta, which describes itself as a leading global coatings provider active in the development, manufacturing, delivery and service of liquid and power coatings, employs around 14,000 people and has a customer base numbering in excess of 100,000 and spanning 130 countries.

None of the parties involved have commented on the report.

Axalta Sells 60,000 Spectrophotometers

Axalta Coating Systems has announced the sale of its 60,000th spectrophotometer, with 10,000 sold globally in the past 15 months alone. The digital tools are used to accurately and quickly colour match, boosting the efficiency of body shops.

“Adopting a digital approach to colour matching and retrieval is a global trend that started 25 years ago when Axalta was one of the first coatings companies to offer a digital device and software to refinish customers,” said Dr Martin Wulf, Axalta’s Colour and Technical Manager for Refinish Systems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Today, we encourage all of our users to future-proof themselves and optimise their efficiency by moving to digital colour measurement.”

Axalta says that refinishers take the colour readings from a vehicle’s paintwork using the spectrophotometer, which then wirelessly sends the readings to Axalta’s online global colour database. The colour matching software searches over 200,000 constantly-updated formulas and where necessary, automatically adjusts the closest formula to provide refinishers with the closest match. It can then be selected on a smartphone or tablet and sent via Wi-Fi to an IP scale for mixing the colour formula.

“The future is now,” said Wulf. “The spectrophotometer is clearly a valuable part of modern refinish work. We expect to see continued and significant growth globally as body shops adopt a completely digital way of working. For customers who are looking at going digital, we will support and help them make a seamless transition to a fully digital colour management process.”

Axalta Hosts 2019 National Business Council In Australia

The Axalta Services team, along with internationally recognised speaker Mike Anderson, demonstrated to body shops how to meet industry challenges head on through the National Business Council symposium held at the Pullman & Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne, from 11-13 August 2019.

“The National Business Council is all about helping body shops to future-proof their business,” said Robin Taylor, Axalta’s Services Manager. “At Axalta, we are very pleased to host this year’s symposium to provide valuable insights into some of the tools and techniques that are critical in aiding business success. It is also wonderful to have Mike Anderson attend this year’s symposium to present to the attendees.”

Mike is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and has served on numerous industry advisory committees. He brought his knowledge and experience from the US market, where he works closely with repairers, OEMs and insurance companies.

Axalta says a key focus of the symposium was the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the impact they can have on the repair process. From understanding initialisation and calibration, through to repair precautions, Axalta believes this topic is crucial for body shops to understand as vehicle technology continues to evolve. Some of the other topics covered included how estimating is evolving thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), positioning a business in the industry, the impact of a business manager on the business and the importance of pre and post scanning.

Axalta says the National Business Council is an opportunity for people in the industry to come together and share their experiences, with the company holding the symposium every few years.

Axalta Introduces New Products To Audurra

Axalta has continued to design and develop user-friendly products for the professional body shop through its refinish non-paint consumable brand, Audurra. The recently expanded range of products now includes masking foil, mixing cups/lids, stirrers and wipes. In addition, there is a new premium abrasives range which includes discs, strips and soft rolls.

The company says these premium discs, strips and soft rolls are specifically developed to work effectively with Axalta paint systems and are designed for high efficiency sanding. They form part of a new sanding system that focuses on choosing the product that is right for the application, as opposed to choosing a grit size. Products are classified as A-B-C-D-E to make sanding easier, with only eight items to cover 90 per cent of applications. The system aids in avoiding application errors and results in re-coatability without scratch or swirl marks, while the multi-hole pattern makes them flexible for use on pads and blocks.

The product features four grits for paint preparation (A to D). The coarse grits focus on removal rate and time savings, while the fine grits have low scratch depths for perfect finish. In addition, there is one grit (E) for use in blending.

To find out more about the Audurra range, contact an Axalta distributor or go to www.axalta.com.au/audurra.

Axalta Promotes Troy Weaver To Vice President, Global Refinish

Axalta Coating Systems announced that Troy Weaver has been promoted to Vice President, Global Refinish, effective immediately. Weaver will report directly to CEO, Robert Bryant.

“We are thrilled to promote Troy to head up our Global Refinish business and add him to Axalta’s leadership team,” said Bryant. “Troy’s experience, in virtually every aspect of our Refinish business during the past 27 years, positions him extraordinarily well to be the next leader of this cornerstone business. His deep institutional knowledge of our Refinish business and the industry, his long-standing relationships with customers ranging from multi-shop operators to independent body shop owners, and his strong business acumen and sales and marketing expertise, make him a perfect fit for this leadership role.”

“Our Refinish business will continue to be an industry innovation leader,” continued Bryant. “We are committed to consistently delivering the exceptional products and services that our customers want. Troy has played a critical role in developing the plan that has driven our strong track record of growth and success.  We are confident that his vision for the future will help us grow our Refinish business and industry-leading position.”

“We are proud to have another internal promotion on our leadership team,” concluded Bryant. “We believe the expertise, understanding, and continuity that our next generation of leaders, like Troy, brings new thinking and enhances our culture. Troy will be a great addition to our leadership team, and we expect that he will continue to differentiate our Refinish business through innovation, while he and his team deliver value to customers every day.”

Prior to his promotion, Weaver was Axalta’s Vice President, North America Refinish where he was responsible for Axalta’s Refinish business in the USA and Canada.  He began his career at DuPont Performance Coatings in 1992, and has held various sales and marketing leadership roles. He is also a two-time recipient of DuPont’s Prestigious Marketing Excellence Award, first in 2007 and again in 2010. Weaver is active in the industry and has served as Chairman of the Board of the CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association).

Charlie Shaver Resigns As Chairman Of Axalta

Axalta Coating Systems announced that Charlie Shaver has resigned as Chairman of its Board of Directors, effective 30 June 2019, to focus on other professional commitments. The Board of Directors has appointed current Independent Presiding Director Mark Garrett as its new Chairman. Garrett also serves as Chairman of Axalta’s Strategic Review Committee.

Axalta is looking into a potential sale, after it announced last week that it would conduct a “comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximise shareholder value”. Garrett is leading that review as head of the Strategic Review Committee.

“I am honoured to have served as Axalta’s Chairman over the past six years and proud of all the company has accomplished,” said Shaver. “Axalta’s tremendous progress in recent years has enabled the company to review a range of strategic alternatives from a position of strength, which I strongly believe is the best course of action for Axalta and its shareholders, customers and employees. With the review underway, now is the right time to make this important transition at the board level. I look forward to watching the next great chapter in Axalta’s journey under the exemplary leadership of Mark Garrett and Robert Bryant.”

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Charlie for the many contributions he has made to Axalta over the past six years, both in the boardroom and as CEO,” said Garrett. “Charlie has played an instrumental role in positioning Axalta for the future by solidifying its market leadership and building a strong foundation for growth. I am honoured by the opportunity to build on Axalta’s rich history and oversee a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximise value for shareholders.”

“I have enjoyed working with Charlie and wish him all the best in the future,” said Robert W. Bryant, Axalta’s Chief Executive Officer. “I look forward to working closely with Mark and the rest of the Board through the strategic review process and beyond to maximise value for Axalta shareholders.”

Axalta Examines The Potential Sale Of Its Business

Axalta Coating Systems today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The Board has formed a Strategic Review Committee, which will be chaired by the Independent Presiding Director of Axalta’s Board, Mark Garrett, and will also include Axalta Chief Executive Officer Robert Bryant and Axalta Independent Director Samuel Smolik.

The company, which counts Berkshire Hathaway as its largest shareholder, is exploring options, which could include an outright sale of the business.

This would be the second time the former DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) business is up for sale.

The Carlyle Group private equity firm acquired DPC in February 2013 and renamed Axalta. The company was taken public and Carlyle sporadically reduced its stake, ultimately selling the remainder of its shares in 2016.

“Axalta’s Board is committed to maximizing value for all shareholders and has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the Company, changes in capital allocation, and ongoing execution of our strategic plan,” said Garrett.

This review comes after a few unproductive takeover discussions.

Axalta discussed a potential merger with Akzo Nobel in late 2017, but those discussions ended after Nippon Paint made a cash bid for Axalta.

However, no deal was concluded between Axalta and Nippon Paint with talks collapsing less than a month after the overture by the Japanese paint giant.

Axalta’s press release said no assurances can be given regarding the outcome or timing of the review process. Axalta does not intend to make any further public comment regarding the review until it has been completed or the Company determines that disclosure is required or beneficial.

The Board has engaged Evercore and Barclays as financial advisors and Morrison & Foerster LLP as legal advisor to assist in its review.

Axalta To Build New, State-Of-The-Art Facility In The Netherlands

Axalta signed an agreement to develop a new, state-of-the-art facility in the Netherlands for its Dutch refinish business.

Once construction is completed, Axalta’s global refinish brands in the Netherlands – Cromax, Spies Hecker, Standox, and Syrox – will relocate to the new facility on Business Park Medel, both in Tiel.

The facility will also house Metalak BV.

“There has been a period of growth and change following our acquisition of Metalak in 2015,” said Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta’s VP for Refinish Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We have outgrown our current location’s ability to support us in the way in which we need it.”

Axalta’s plot in Business Park Medel is 12,000 square metres and will house, once completed, a large facility comprised of office space over three floors, a warehouse, and a new Axalta training centre as well as separate mixing room, which is part of Axalta’s direct business point of distribution, servicing both high-volume customers as well as local colour development.

“We are always looking to improve our level of support to our customers, so today, with a view to the future, we commit to building a state-of-the-art facility,” said Bas van de Ven, Axalta’s managing director for Refinish in the Netherlands “The new training centre will be able to meet the future needs of the market, while the new offices and sophisticated automated warehouse will allow us to take our daily operations to the next level and to attract and to retain outstanding talent.”

Ground is due to be broken on the site in October 2019, with an anticipated completion date by summer 2020. The facility will be operational and ready to move into by September 2020.

Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta VP for Refinish Systems in EMEA.

Axalta’s 2019 ‘Think Sustainable!’ Winner Announced

Axalta has concluded its ‘Think Sustainable!’ promotion in Australia by announcing the winner to be Robbie Manson from Apex Smash Repairs.

The promotion offered purchasers of a promotion kit that included a range of Axalta premium branded clears and Finixa paint processing products an entry in a draw to win up to $20,000 towards a solar panel system installation.

“We are excited to offer this promotion and encourage customers to ‘Think Sustainable’,” said Steven Brett, Managing Director of Axalta Coatings Systems in Australia. “Not every business can afford to install a solar panel system, so we are giving customers the chance to win one. At the same time, we encourage body shops to look at the technologies currently available that can minimise energy consumption, reduce waste or increase efficiencies.”

Manson said he is looking forward to seeing the impact the solar panel system will have on sustainability in his shop.

“I am so excited to have won this competition,” said Manson. “A big thank you to Axalta for supporting us by supplying a solar panel system and encouraging body shops to think about sustainability. I can’t wait to have the system installed so I can see the impact it has on my business.”

Axalta says it has a number of other initiatives in place to promote and support body shop sustainability. The Axalta Services team works with customers in achieving their sustainability goals through better, safer and sustainable business practices and actions. In addition, Axalta presents the “Axalta Business Excellence Award” each year to recognise businesses that have achieved a competitive advantage through sustainable initiatives.

National Business Council Returns In 2019

The Axalta Services team will be showing body shops how to meet the challenges of achieving productivity and profitability, head on, through a National Business Council symposium held at the Novotel in St Kilda, Melbourne from 11 to 13 August 2019.

Axalta says Axalta Services works hard with body shops to successfully manage both productivity and profitability by creating networking and management training opportunities engineered specifically for body shops. The company says the National Business Council symposium creates such a platform to effectively demonstrate how, through innovative business solutions, body shops can restructure to create a more sustainable business model, helping to future proof their business.

“The 2019 National Business Council is all about providing valuable insights into some of the tools and techniques that are critical in increasing throughput and decreasing cycle times within the collision repair process,” said Robin Taylor, Axalta’s Services Manager.

According to Axalta, the symposium’s seminars will focus on issues that are currently impacting or will impact body shops, as well as “looking at effective business strategies, targeting customer relationship management and change management”.

Attendees will also hear from Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson, who brings extensive knowledge and experience from the US market. Anderson will discuss leading trends in the US and focus on his experience in a dynamic industry.

Happening every few years, Axalta says the National Business Council is a networking opportunity for people in the industry to come together and share their experiences. Not only do attendees leave with insights into how to make their body shop more productive and profitable, but they also leave with a greater understanding of where the refinish industry is heading and how rapidly it is evolving.

“After attending the National Business Council, it made me realise just how many changes are happening in our industry today,” said Bert Rowsell, Managing Director of Rowsell Collision Repairs, about the 2016 conference. “I gained valuable insights that I can now take back to my businesses and more importantly, I have great networking contacts with whom I can share ideas. I found the two-day seminar very informative, with quality guest speakers and lively group discussions. I eagerly await the next conference.”

To learn more about the National Business Council or to register your interest, please visit www.axalta.com.au/axaltaservices.