PartSource has purchased the assets of the Drivers Discount Auto Parts/Auto Village chain in Western Canada.
The acquisition includes nine retail stores in total–one in Calgary, four in Edmonton, two in Saskatoon, one in Regina and one in Moose Jaw–which brings the number of PartSource stores to 24 when added to the 15 existing PartSource stores open to date in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
The Drivers/Auto Village operation is separate from the Automotive Village stores operated in Calgary as part of the Auto Value network. Due to the similarity of names, the Auto Village name could not be trademarked and the stores were in the process of being converted to the Drivers Discount Auto Parts identity.
The acquisition follows a series of head-to-head battles in the marketplace. “It seemed that every time we opened a location, they were across the street,” says Wayne Scrivens, who built the Drivers/Auto Village retail chain over the past seven years. “It was slowing down our growth substantially.” Despite the fact that the Drivers chain had seen its size double in the past two years, Scrivens says that the competition was hurting both parties. So when interest was expressed by PartSource in acquiring the chain, it made sense.
“With their aggressive plans and with our people looking for growth, it made a lot of sense when they said they would take all of our people on. That for me was number one. The second factor was that there was a lot of money backing them and the real fight is going to be with AutoZone and CSK and Pep Boys. The real winner is going to be the group with the financing to fight the big battle.”
Scrivens has long been concerned about the impact of new players in the market. In 1996, at the Automotive Industries Association of Canada Aftermarket Forum, he told attendees that they should take retail competition seriously. The biggest threat at the time was expected to be an incursion by U.S.-based AutoZone. Scrivens said that the best way to combat such competition is to copy their look and image, which would make an area less appealing as a potential store location. “Emulation is everything,” he said at the time.
The acquisition of the Drivers/Auto Village chain will result in the stores being converted to PartSource franchise operations, though complete conversion is expected to take about a year. Some stores will move to new locations, while others will be redesigned as PartSource stores. About 200 staff are included in the change. Scrivens will be taking on responsibility for PartSource’s Western Canada operations.
“This brings together two great Canadian-owned automotive specialty chains,” says Bruce Allen, PartSource president. “Our strategy is to build the most recommended auto parts chain in Canada and we have taken another important step forward in achieving our goal.”
Charity Breaks $2.2 Million Mark for Muscular Dystrophy Research
Leading aftermarket charity event, Shad’s R&R, has once again met its target of $140,000 raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada (MDAC), bringing the cumulative total raised to more than $2.2 million.
Founder of the event Fred Shaddick thanked every one of the 300 attendees and sponsors for their support over the years, reminding all that they were the stars of the event. The event has become known for the fact that it does not invite sports stars or other celebrities to attract contributions.
Malcolm Hunter, COO of Fred Deeley Imports, the exclusive Harley-Davidson distributor for Canada, spoke to the group on behalf of the MDAC, of which Hunter is a director. “The money you have raised has helped support science.” He told the group of the recent advancements made in understanding the cause of muscular dystrophy and working toward effective therapies. “Armed with this new knowledge, the scientists will continue to work to help defeat muscular dystrophy.” Hunter also presented the former chairman of the event, Greg Stone, with a plaque honoring his 25 years of work with the organization. “Individual honors are nice,” responded Stone, “but (Shad’s) represents a whole team effort.”
The board of directors of Shad’s R&R proudly displays the $2.2 million banner. In the quarter century of fund raising, that’s how much the automotive aftermarket charity event has raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada. Presenting the banner are (l-r): Ken Coulter, Emmett Grant, Lube Koval, John Vanstone, Fred Shaddick, Ray Osika, and Mike Holland.
Uni-Select Automotive Group breaks $100 million in first quarter
Uni-Select had a strong start to its 2000 fiscal year with a sales of its Automotive Group Canada totaling $100.2, an increase of 7.1% over 1999.
Fuelled by strong organic growth across the country, the strongest market share gains came from Eastern Canada, more specifically the Maritimes and Quebec, following the conclusion in January 1999 of an exclusive supply agreement with the Irving Oil Limited auto maintenance network. The expansion of the business operations of some of the company’s members also contributed to the sales increase of the Automotive Group by adding new outlets to the Uni-Select network.
Overall, Uni-Select sales increased to $134.8 million, up 12.8%, over the $119.5 million recorded in the first quarter of 1999. Net earnings grew 2.2% to $2.2 million. This increase in net earnings stems from the substantial growth in sales recorded by the Automotive Group Canada and by the company’s U.S. operations. Had it not been for the consolidation of the Heavy Duty Group, the increase in net earnings would have been similar to that of sales. Sales for the Heavy Duty Group dropped 8.6% to $13.9 million.
“The performance of the Automotive Group Canada is all the more remarkable given that industry analysts projected only modest growth of between 0% and 1% for the automotive replacement parts industry in Canada,” said Jacques Landreville, president and CEO.
The contribution of the Automotive Group USA to Uni-Select’s sales almost doubled to reach $20.7 million, up 92.8% over the first three months of 1999. This growth stems primarily from the successful integration of Universal Warehouse in Tennessee, whose assets were acquired in October 1999.
Arvin Industries Launches B2B Portal
Arvin Replacements Products has launched a B2B portal, allowing customers online access to business activity information.
The site, arp.arvin.com, is a secure Web portal focused on providing higher levels of service and information to Arvin’s growing customer base of auto parts distributors, retailers and installers. Specifically, the B2B portal provides Arvin Replacement Products’ customers with access to real-time information on their business activity with Arvin, such as the current status of their orders, and invoice and accounts receivable information. Access to customer-specific information is protected through a security process requiring a unique ID and password.
In addition, users can access online application data and competitive product interchange information for the company’s Gabriel ride-control products and Purolator filters. Application information for Arvin’s aftermarket exhaust products and StrongArm gas-charged lift supports will also be added in the near future.
Dan Daniel, president of Arvin Replacement Products, said, “arp.arvin.com is only the first step in our strategy to be a leader in e-business for the automotive aftermarket. We are dedicated to using the technology of the Internet to improve our business processes and provide superior value in all of our customer partner relationships.”
Mark IV Agrees to Merger
Mark IV Industries, Inc. has announced that it has reached an agreement to merge with an acquisition company.
The merger agreement with MIV Acquisition Corporation, an entity controlled by funds advised by BC Partners, a leading European private equity firm, provides for the acquisition of Mark IV at a price of $23.00 per share in cash, making the deal valued at approximately $2 billion (U.
The acquisition is subject to company, shareholder and government approvals. The transaction is expected to close within three to four months. In commenting on the execution of the merger agreement, Sal H. Alfiero, Mark IV’s founder, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The Board of Directors and management team has been dedicated to maximizing shareholder value throughout the process of evaluating Mark IV’s strategic alternatives announced in January. This transaction represents an endorsement of Mark IV by a highly-regarded private equity firm. The purchase price being paid represents a 25% premium over the Company’s January stock price prior to its announcement.”
September 1-3–Vancouver Molson Indy, Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver, B.C.