Uni-Select announces C$125 million convertible debenture financing and concludes Strategic Review Process

· Financing provides flexibility to pursue growth opportunities
· 9.5% shareholder Birch Hill Equity Partners Management Inc. affirms confidence in Uni-Select’s current strategic plan by acting as lead investor

Boucherville (Québec), December 18, 2019 – Uni-Select Inc. (TSX:UNS) (“Uni-Select” or the “Corporation”) is pleased to announce the completion of a private placement offering of C$125 million principal amount of convertible senior subordinated unsecured debentures (“Debentures”) (“Offering”).

Birch Hill Equity Partners Management Inc. (“Birch Hill”), as shareholder and lead investor in the Offering, subscribed for C$75 million principal amount of Debentures. The remaining C$50 million was purchased by institutional investors following a private marketing approach.

“With this investment, a group which includes some of our largest shareholders are demonstrating their confidence in our team, our strategy, and the direction we’re taking to drive long-term value, as we continue to yield tangible cost savings and sustainable profitability improvement from our Performance Improvement Plan,” said Brent Windom, President and Chief Executive Officer of Uni-Select Inc. and President and Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Automotive Group.

Uni-Select intends to use the net proceeds from the Offering to reduce borrowings under its senior debt credit facility and to pursue strategic growth opportunities.

RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets acted as co-agents and bookrunners on the Offering and National Bank Financial Markets acted as financial advisor to Birch Hill.

Conclusion of the Strategic Review Process
In September 2018, the Corporation announced that its Board of Directors (“Board”) had formed a Special Committee of independent members of the Board (“Special Committee”) to oversee a review of strategic alternatives with the goal of maximizing value for shareholders. Through this process, which included the review and evaluation of a number of alternatives, the Board has determined that modifying the capital structure with this financing and positioning the Corporation to pursue identified growth opportunities is the best alternative for maximizing value for shareholders. The Board and the Corporation remain open to evaluating future opportunities that align with its business strategies and enhance shareholder value.

Convertible Debentures Financing Details
The Debentures are being offered at a price of C$1,000 per C$1,000 principal amount of Debenture and will bear interest at a rate of 6.0% per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears on June 18 and December 18 commencing on June 18, 2020. The Debentures will mature on December 18, 2026 and will be convertible at the holder’s option into common shares of the Corporation (“Common Shares”) at a conversion price of C$13.57 per Common Share (the “Conversion Price”), representing a conversion rate of 73.69 Common Shares per C$1,000 principal amount of Debentures.

Uni-Select has granted Birch Hill certain governance rights in connection with its investment, including the right to designate two nominees on the board of directors, a pre-emptive right to maintain its pro rata ownership, and customary registration rights.

Appointment of Directors
Uni-Select is pleased to announce the appointment of David G. Samuel and Matthew B. Kunica as directors of the Corporation effective January 1, 2020.

 Mr. Samuel joined Birch Hill in 2005. He is Chairman of Groupe Distinction Inc. and serves on the boards of directors of Cozzini Bros, Inc. and Softchoice Corp. Prior to joining Birch Hill, Mr. Samuel had over 15 years of experience in private equity, operations, consulting and investment banking. Mr. Samuel’s experience includes serving as President, Rogers Cable (High Speed Internet Access) and working at McKinsey & Company and Morgan Stanley.

Mr. Kunica joined Birch Hill in 2003 and currently serves on the Boards of CCM Hockey, HomeEquity Bank and Bio Agri Mix. He has played a key role in Birch Hill’s investments in a diverse cross section of companies. Prior to joining Birch Hill, Mr. Kunica worked in the investment banking groups of both Credit Suisse First Boston and BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto.

Effective January 1, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Corporation will be composed of nine members and one vacancy which is expected to be used to add a new member and increase diversity before our next annual shareholder meeting.

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank David Bibby, Jeff Hall, George Heath, Dennis Welvaert and Michael Wright for their invaluable contributions to Uni-Select,” said Michelle Cormier, Chair of the Board of the Corporation. They will be leaving the Board effective January 1, 2020.

Impairment Loss on a Portion of the Goodwill
While Uni-Select is taking meaningful action to confront a series of headwinds in Europe, due to market softness and uncertainties surrounding Brexit, the Corporation will be recording a non-recurring, non-cash goodwill impairment charge between US$45 million and US$50 million, related to a portion of the goodwill of its operations in the U.K. This impairment will be reflected in the Corporation’s upcoming Q4 and year-end financial statements.

ABOUT UNI-SELECT
Uni-Select is a leader in the distribution of automotive refinish and industrial paint and related products in North America, as well as a leader in the automotive aftermarket parts business in Canada and in the UK. Uni‑Select is headquartered in Boucherville, Québec, Canada, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol UNS.
In Canada, Uni-Select supports over 16,000 automotive repair and collision repair shops through a growing national network of more than 1,100 independent customers and over 70 company-owned stores, many of which operate under the Uni-Select BUMPER TO BUMPER®, AUTO PARTS PLUS® AND FINISHMASTER® store banner programs. It also supports over 3,900 shops through its automotive repair/installer shop banners, as well as through its automotive refinish banners.
In the United States, Uni-Select, through its wholly owned subsidiary FinishMaster, Inc., operates a national network of over 180 automotive refinish company-owned stores under the FINISHMASTER banner which services a network of over 30,000 customers annually, of which it is the primary supplier to over 6,800 collision repair centre customers.
In the UK and Ireland, Uni-Select, through its Parts Alliance group of subsidiaries, is a leading distributor of automotive parts supporting over 23,000 customer accounts with a network of 180 company-owned stores. 


CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain statements made in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements include, without limitation, the expected cost savings in relation to the Performance Improvement Plan and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the words assumption, goal, guidance, objective, outlook, project, strategy, target and other similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as aim, anticipate, believe, could, expect, intend, may, plan, seek, should, strive and will. All such forward‑looking statements are made pursuant to the “safe harbour” provisions of applicable Canadian securities laws.

Forward-looking statements are, by their very nature, subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions, both general and specific, which may cause expressed expectations to be significantly different from those listed or implied within this press release and our business outlook, objectives, plans and strategic priorities may not be achieved. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize, and we caution you against relying on any of these forward‑looking statements. The forward‑looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this press release, and Uni-Select does not undertake to publicly update such forward-looking information to reflect new information, subsequent or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities laws. Forward‑looking statements are presented in this press release for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding certain key elements of our expected 2019 financial results, as well as our objectives, strategic priorities and business outlook for 2019, and in obtaining a better understanding of our anticipated operating environment. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Pierre Boucher, CPA, CMA
Jennifer McCaughey, CFA
MaisonBrison Communications
Tel.: (514) 731-0000
pierre@maisonbrison.com
jennifer@maisonbrison.com
investorrelations@uniselect.com

Garage speaks out following “hard-hitting” Trading Standards sting

Family behind Binley Woods urges independents to check quality control processes after being forced to pay £11,150.

The family behind Binley Woods Service Centre has spoken out to tell “our side of the story” after being fined £1,500, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £9,500 and a £150 victim surcharge following a Trading Standards operation.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards carried out an under-cover operation at the Coventry-based independent in 2018 and was found guilty of an offence contrary to regulation 9 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Coventry Magistrates Court in November of this year.

Full service/ major service discrepancy 

Charnjit Sekhon, manager at Binley Woods, told Garage Wire that the issue was largely down to a discrepancy between a ‘full service’ and ‘major service’.

He said: “Trading Standards booked a vehicle in for a major service over the phone but, for some unknown reason, our receptionist booked the vehicle in for a full service.

“We changed the oil, filter, provided a comprehensive vehicle check and bill £132 for a full service.

“That’s why we didn’t replace the fuel filter and sparks plugs.

“But how could we prove it?

“The court required due diligence proof.

“The only thing that saved us was an advertisement on our website, which showed that we charge £190 for a major service.”

Immediate change

Charnjit first became aware of the undercover operation three days later when he was interviewed by Trading Standards about the recent service and, after seeking advice from the Independent Garage Association (IGA), immediately made changes to the business.

He said: “We’ve changed the telephone system to record incoming and out-going calls, so we have some reference to check any future discrepancies.

“Our workflow process, from initial booking through to when the vehicle leaves the site is now recorded.

“Over the last few months we’ve had a complete new system – it’s the only thing that will save our bacon in the law of court, which asks what processes we have in place to avoid issues.”

“An opportunity to improve”

Speaking to Garage Wire, head of member services at the IGA, Frank Harvey said: “It’s the easiest thing in the world to point fingers but when somebody needs help, that’s when we have to prove our worth.

“It can’t have been a comfortable situation but rather than shy away from it they took it as an opportunity to improve their business which really shows their worth.

“We visited the garage, understood what had gone wrong and helped them to put new processes into place.”

Managing the fallout

Since the case was made public, Charnjit admits that the investigation has impacted business but explained that he’s trying to managing the situation.

He said: “We hold our hands up, mistakes were made but since 2018 we have invested substantial sums in training and quality control processes

“After it came out in the press we had two cancellations.

“Now we’re trying to manage it and calling any other cancellations to explain the situation and what improvements we’ve made.”

“Scapegoats”

Charnjit urges other independent garage owners to “up their game in quality control” and said that “we’re used to Trading Standards making scapegoats out of Halfords and Quick Fit but we never expect anything like this to happen to us”.

He added: “Everything was verbal in our business

“We had nothing in place to record what happened and to demonstrate that the employee was properly trained.

“We were asked what the process was from the initiation of a job to completion.

“Verbally, they weren’t interested, they wanted to see something scripted and we now admit that our quality-control was very lapse.

“We’ve learnt from this sting.”

“Intelligence led enforcement”

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards declined to answer questions put forward by Garage Wire but did state that it seeks “to protect road users by carrying out intelligence led enforcement operations including car servicing projects, forecourt checks and unroadworthy vehicle test purchases.”

It added: “We direct our limited resources using a range of information, including consumer complaint data.”

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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REPXPERT Academy LIVE: Registrations open for Basingstoke College event

Roadshow continues with second training day to be held on 25 January 2020.

Following a resoundingly successful debut in Lincoln, registration is now open for the second REPXPERT Academy LIVE event at Basingstoke College of Technology – again hosted by Schaeffler and the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

Taking place on Saturday 25th January, visitors will be offered masterclasses by a team of Schaeffler REPXPERTs, who will be focusing on LuK clutch technology, INA timing drives and modern thermal management systems.

There will also be a focus on new and upcoming vehicle technologies, such as hybridisation and electrification.

Business training

REPXPERT brand ambassador, Andy Savva, aka ‘The Garage Inspector’, will also be hosting a class based on his popular business training sessions.

Andy is an award-winning ex-workshop owner, aftermarket commentator and now business advisor, who will demonstrate to workshop owners and staff how they can ‘empower their workshop’.

These four sessions will incorporate practical knowledge, theory and discussion elements – all designed to impart as much knowledge as possible in just 45 minutes.

There will also be plenty to see in the workshop throughout the day, with guest exhibitors, Laser Tools and TechMan, plus, of course, displays from both Schaeffler and the IMI.

Future-proofing workshops

Schaeffler managing director, Nigel Morgan said: “We received some amazing visitor feedback from the Lincoln event, and believe we can deliver an even better visitor experience in Basingstoke.

“We are confident of attracting large numbers of technicians from the region, and as we can only cater for a set amount of people I urge everybody to sign-up quickly to avoid disappointment.

“Lincoln proved that technicians have a hunger to improve and to learn about new technologies or systems that they weren’t previously aware of.

“That’s the beauty of REPXPERT Academy LIVE: we’re offering technicians the opportunity to bolster their knowledge and to also think about investing in more comprehensive training, in order to future-proof their workshop business.”

Schaeffler national accounts manager, Matt Selby said: “The key thing for us is engaging with workshops; with all the different Schaeffler product lines and new technologies to talk about, we believe REPXPERT Academy LIVE is the perfect place to share some of that valuable information.

“We want to welcome workshop staff that are keen to give up their time to gain knowledge and expertise.

“To complement the OE brand of Schaeffler, we want premium facilities to match, so we’re delighted to be hosting our next event at Basingstoke College of Technology, an IMI-approved facility.

“We work very closely with the IMI and have done for a number of years; this is a long-term partnership, and with three REPXPERT events in 2020 and more due in 2021, we’re really excited about the potential of this project.”

Entry to REPXPERT Academy LIVE is free of charge, and every visitor will be offered complimentary breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout.

Doors will open at 9am, with the event due to finish at 4pm.

To register a place, click here.

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Autotech Recruit MD reveals how he came to supply temp workshop cover

Skills shortage to remain “for at least another decade” says Gavin White.

Autotech Recruit’s managing director, Gavin White reveals how the firm has diversified its recruitment services, from short-term contracts, medium-to-long-term fixed placements, and permanent recruitment to meet the needs of the automotive industry.

While working as an aftersales manager at Thomson Motor Group, Gavin became aware of a lack of an agency which provided a “a get-out-of-jail technician” to cover staff sickness, holidays and training commitments.

It was a thought that prompted Gavin to borrow £40,000 from his grandmother and his life-long friend Andrew Sly to borrow £25,000 from his father to create what would become Autotech Recruit in 2010.

The agency today employs 30 people at its Milton Keyenes office, has 500 contractors and boasts a turnoever in the region of £10 million.

Supplying temporary technicians

Gavin said: “We started out doing permanent recruitment to get cashflow moving before moving into the temporary contractor element of the business.

“Our first big client was Kwik-Fit.

“Over their 600-garage network, they had a high attrition rate.

“They needed MOT testers and there was an abundance because of the economic climate at the time.

“That really got us going, but it’s really just in the past two to three years that we have really expanded with the manufacturer and large retail groups.

“In the early days, 90 per cent of our work was with the fast-fit chains, but dealerships are now 70-80 per cent of our business.

“A lot of our growth with retailers can be traced to the back end of 2017, when we started talking to Volvo, Renault and Ford about our manufacturer-led programmes.

“What we do is take the technicians that we know and trust and then put them through the manufacturer training courses.

“We issue them with the manufacturer’s uniform and we have a portal that the BMW network, say, can log into, select dates on the calendar and we then send them a temporary technician who is fully trained and qualified.”

Autotech Recruit works with Ford, BMW, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, PSA Group and Renault and has 120 people that have been through the manufacturer programmes.

In 2018, the total number of hours filled by vehicle technicians under the manufacturer-led recruitment programme was 43,917.

Up to the end of May this year, it had already surpassed that, with a further 50,669 hours.

The total number of hours filled by Autotech Recruit contractors in the 12 months between May 2018 and April 2019, was 336,455.

Skills shortage

Gavin said: “What we are seeing is the result of a complete lack of investment in apprenticeships over the past two decades.

“We don’t engage with schools and colleges well enough as an industry and I still don’t think many businesses are working hard enough to attract the next generation of technicians.

“We’re just not very good as an industry at introducing new blood.

“In my opinion, ‘skills shortage’ is a term that we will be with us for at least another decade.”

For further information about Autotech Recruit, click here.

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Yuasa issues cold weather battery warning

“Always check the battery” kit produces quick, accurate results.

Over a half a million batteries are replaced by breakdown recovery services every year and battery related faults are the number one reason for vehicle starting problems and winter callouts, Yuasa reports.

At 0°C, even a healthy battery will lose about 30 per cent of its cold cranking performance.

This does not mean that the Ah has disappeared, merely that its availability has been reduced by cold temperatures.

Furthermore, vehicles have a much-increased electrical demand to start during the cold.

What’s more, it takes greater power for a starter motor to turn a cold engine over and freezing temperatures slow down the chemical process inside a battery, reducing its ability to hold a charge.

“To combat the effects of capacity loss, it is advisable for workshops to always fit a reliable, high quality battery,” explains Ian Newham, training manager for GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd.

“If the battery has a higher capacity to begin with – before any drop in temperature – it is more likely that the vehicle will start and the battery will last much longer compared to a budget battery.

“For example, the Yuasa YBX5000 range offers 50 per cent more power, over double the number of starts and is typically sold with a longer guarantee than the YBX1000 range.

“AGM and EFB batteries have more power and can withstand a much wider temperature range.”

The older a battery is, the less performance it will have and the weaker it will be, according to Yuasa.

An older battery that seems fine in the warm summer temperatures will often discharge or go flat very quickly, as soon as the weather turns colder.

In most cases, this will then lead to a non-start situation.

Infrequent vehicle use

Yuasa says that battery discharge can also occur if a vehicle is used infrequently or only for short distances.

It advises drivers to take a longer journey at least once a month for the battery to re-charge.

Yuasa recommends independent workshops adopt their ‘always check the battery’ scheme and stresses that this preventative maintenance measure is as important as changing tyres, refilling fluids and testing lights.

The popular scheme encourages garages to significantly improve customer service and drive customer loyalty by testing the battery of every vehicle serviced or repaired.

The idea was born following a major workshop trial which discovered that 11 per cent of all vehicles required a battery replacement and a further 27 per cent needed recharging.

Yuasa’s ‘always check the battery’ kit, which includes a GS Yuasa battery tester, mirror hangers, a guide book and varied POS material, is ideal as part of a standard winter check and produces quick, accurate results for garages.

Find out more about Yuasa’s YBX automotive battery here.

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Commitment to quality shows as GW Views visits Ivor Searle

Core product offering continues to grow for independent garages seeking value without compromising quality.

Following the recent launch of its professional DPF cleaning service, GW Views takes an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at Ivor Searle to find out how the brand is establishing itself as a one-stop-shop for core automotive components.

Ivor Searle is renowned for its remanufactured engines, which are built to the BS AU 257:2002 standard set by the British Standard Institution to define the different between reconditioned, refurbished or a rebuilt engine and a quality remanufactured unit.

Speaking to Ivor Searle’s commercial director, David Eszenyi told GW that all of its remanufactured engines are thoroughly tested in purpose-built test cells.

He said: “All new replacement parts used in the remanufacturing process are sourced for their reliability and durability.

“We test all engines prior to final inspection and dispatch.

“With over 400 units in stock and a highly knowledgeable, expert sales department, we are focused on delivering first class customer service, every time.”

In recent years, the remanufacturer has applied its extensive experience and commitment to quality into other core vehicle components including turbochargers, gearboxes and now also DPFs.

Professional DPF cleaning service

Using state-of-the-art “flash cleaning” technology, an environmentally-friendly water-based process delivers as-new levels of cleanliness by removing all soot and ash deposits, including PM10 particles, cerium oxide deposits and oil residues, from the DPF.

Analysis by Umicore, one of the world’s foremost automotive DPF and catalyst manufacturers, has confirmed that there are no remarkable differences between a DPF cleaned using the same technology employed by Ivor Searle and installing a brand new unit.

Ivor Searle’s fast turnaround professional DPF cleaning service offers independent workshops competitive advantage by offering a low -cost alternative to component replacement.

All Ivor Searle professionally cleaned DPFs are provided with a detailed inspection report and are covered by a no quibble 12-month unlimited mileage warranty.

Turbochargers

Every Ivor Searle turbocharger undergoes the same intensive remanufacturing process, which involves a complete strip down and thorough cleansing using pyrolytic technology.

The remanufacturing process involves a complete strip down and thorough cleansing using pyrolytic technology, after which all internal components are automatically replaced.

All external housings are meticulously examined and checked against OE specification and any non-conforming components are also replaced.

David said: “Our turbochargers undergo stringent quality checks and test procedures throughout the remanufacturing process to ensure maximum durability and service life.

“Prior to final assembly, the turbocharger’s rotating assembly is then balanced on the latest computerised VSR equipment at speeds of up to 250,000 RPM and oil flow rates are checked at the same time.”

Gearboxes

When it comes to gearboxes, Ivor Searle’s same intensive remanufacturing process is applied.

Transmissions are stripped down, thoroughly cleaned and inspected against OE specification.

Bearings, seals and gaskets are replaced and all other parts are checked against OE specifications with non-conforming items replaced.

David added: “All Ivor Searle engines, cylinder heads and gearboxes are covered by a transferable 12-month unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty.

“A 24-month warranty covers our turbochargers.

“All Ivor Searle units are supplied with pre-installation guidelines, as well as model-specific instructions if required.

“We are also pleased to offer free next-day delivery throughout the UK mainland on our stock items, if ordered before 3.30pm.

“Our extensive distributor network ensures that wherever you are, you’re not far away from an Ivor Searle quality product.”

Ivor Searle’s website allows technicians to search quickly to check availability and to order stock items for next day delivery with just a few mouse clicks.

For more information about Ivor Searle, click here.

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Number of misguided motorists that avoid servicing over cost fears is “alarming”

Half of UK drivers worry about unexpected car bills, survey finds.

Millions of motorists are avoiding car maintenance over fears of unexpected problems, with many admitting that they avoid getting their car serviced in case vehicle faults are found.

Around half of UK drivers (47 per cent) worry about having to pay for unexpected car repairs.

The survey of 2,000 motorists also found that a quarter (24 per cent) of those who worry about unexpected problems say this uncertainty is putting them off getting their car serviced.

The research suggests that drivers are paying hundreds of pounds to pass an MOT, with five per cent paying £1,000 or more to get their vehicle through the test.

Further MOT analysis reveals that around 40 per cent of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt.

Lauren French, product manager at RAC MOT Assist, the company behind the research, said: “Clearly, taking a car in for a service or MOT can be a nerve-wracking experience with many drivers concerned about what might be uncovered, and the unpleasant financial consequences that can result.

“But it’s even more alarming that this experience is enough to put some people off getting their car serviced in the future.

“Just how many people are driving vehicles on the UK’s roads that they know have problems?

“The best advice to any driver is to keep on top of servicing and maintenance work – the quicker problems are identified, often the cheaper they are to remedy.”

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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Ben Ball raises more than £87,000 for automotive industry support

2019 Christmas ball was held at London’s Roundhouse on December 11.

Hundreds of people from the automotive community gathered at the new home of Ben Ball, the iconic Roundhouse, and helped raise over £87,000 for Ben on the night at its annual Christmas ball.

Over 650 guests were hosted by Ben’s chief executive, Zara Ross, and fundraising director, Matt Wigginton.

The evening included spectacular entertainment with Ben’s Greatest Show, a gospel choir, music from the band, Fully Funktional, and much more.

The audience enjoyed guest appearances from Mat Watson from CarWow and also Jonny Gould, renowned auctioneer and Channel Five presenter.

Ben Ball is the organisation’s Christmas Ball for the automotive community, which raises funds and highlights the vital work that Ben does.

After 70 years, the look and feel of Ben Ball was refreshed this year to present its stunning new venue and the unforgettable Christmas experience for 2019, and the future.

The evening saw the automotive community celebrating the year with colleagues, networking in style and raising funds for Ben to continue providing life-changing support to automotive colleagues.

During the evening, it was announced that Ben’s 2019 Industry Leader Challenge (ILC), the Epic Thames Waterbike Ride, raised an incredible total of £273,360.

This challenge involved Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Cars Sweden; Tim Tozer, CEO of Allianz Partners UK and Ireland and Darren Guiver, former managing director of group 1 automotive.

The trio cycled over 170 miles in 4 days down the River Thames on self-propelled water bikes through 45 locks.

The ILC baton was officially handed over to senior industry leaders who will form a group of up to 10 teams from well-known automotive businesses who have pledged to take part in Ben’s ILC 2020: The Climb.

An intrepid industry leader and a colleague from each company will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October next year, to raise a record amount of money for Ben.

Fundraising will run from January to December 2020 with an ambitious group target to raise £500,000.

Three leaders from Ben will also be taking part in The Climb: Zara Ross, Ben’s chief executive, Matt Wigginton, fundraising director and Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director.

Matt Wigginton, fundraising director at Ben, said: “Ben Ball 2019 was absolutely extraordinary – a stand-out event.

“We would like to thank everyone who came along to the Roundhouse to be part of something truly special and inspiring.

“We were delighted to announce next year’s ILC, The Climb, during the evening.

Everyone has their own mountain to climb at some point in their life – no matter who you are, what you do or where you come from. We are slightly daunted, but we can’t wait to achieve something incredible in 2020 by reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, together with some of the industry’s most intrepid senior leaders! There are still a couple of spots left for this incredible challenge so get in touch with me (matt.wigginton@ben.org.uk) if you would like to find out more.

“Ben Ball is all about looking after our own in challenging times.

“Together, we continue to do something amazing to support the lifeblood of our industry.

“We look forward to seeing you at the Ball next year and, with just 650 tickets, book now to make sure you don’t miss out.”

A live auction, which included prizes generously donated by a number of companies inside and outside of the automotive industry, attributed to this year’s fundraising total.

For further information about BEN, click here.

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MANN+HUMMEL appoints new board of management

Kurk Wilks succeeds Werner Lieberherr after leaving in October by mutual agreement.

The supervisory board of MANN+HUMMEL has appointed Kurk Wilks as the new president and CEO as of January 1, 2020.

Kurk Wilks will manage the group together with Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Emese Weissenbacher and Chief Operating Officer Nic Zerbst.

Kurk Wilks has been with the company for around 20 years.

He has been managing the automotive original equipment business since 2019, and will continue to do so.

Kurk Wilks has previously worked in a variety of roles within MANN+HUMMEL in the USA.

The married father of two children joined MANN+HUMMEL as a sales manager and worked in various other posts at the company before being named president and general manager original equipment.

Wilks has a degree in accounting and an MBA from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan.

Kurk Wilks said: “I am looking forward to tackling my greatest challenge yet together with Emese Weissenbacher and Nic Zerbst.

“Thanks to our employees and our strong brands, we are well positioned in all business units.

“Now we need to build on our market-leading position in the filtration sector.

“I am grateful to the Supervisory Board for the trust they have placed in me and that I will be responsible for providing continuity for this family business.”

The chairman of the supervisory board, Thomas Fischer said: “We are delighted that the group now has a clear way forward with the new leadership team.

“In Kurk Wilks, we have found someone who has already been successfully helping to shape the company for many years, who is determined, embodies our values and has international links, all of which is extremely important in a global company such as MANN+HUMMEL.

“I wish the new leadership team every success.”

For further information about MANN+HUMMEL, click here.

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Polybush reports on successful Classic Motor Show

Enthusiasts flock to find out more about Polyurethane suspension bushes.

Polybush has exhibited at the Classic Motor show for more than ten years has hailed 2019’s event a success.

The firm also supplied bushes for Practical Classic Jaguar e-type which was being restored live on stage during the show.

A Polybush spokesperson said: “As always, it is great to see a few familiar faces, and some new who we were thrilled to welcome to the wonderful world of Polyurethane suspension bushes.

“And to have our existing customers explain to them the benefits from switching from the OE rubber parts is the reason we do what we do.”

For further information about Polybush, click here.

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