Volume 14, Issue 1 - January/February 2012

AGR Reports
breaking news

LEGAL NEWS
Four-Year Legal Dispute Between PPG Industries and Platinum Equity Ends

A four-year legal battle between PPG Industries and Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Platinum Equity ended in December, according to court records. The legal dispute began shortly after Platinum Equity terminated its agreement to purchase PPG’s auto glass business (now Pittsburgh Glass Works) in December 2007 (see related story in January/February 2008 AGRR™ magazine, page 10).

The case ended with a stipulation of discontinuance filed by both parties, dismissing the case with prejudice and without costs and fees for either party. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Platinum Equity originally filed suit against PPG in January 2008, alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation in the agreed-upon purchase. The private equity firm specifically alleged that PPG “misrepresent[ed] and conceal[ed] the true facts regarding the financial condition and performance of the company they owned and operated to fraudulently induce [Platinum] to purchase the company at an artificially inflated purchase price.”

PPG’s auto glass business was sold a few months later that year to Kohlberg & Co. in Mount Kisco, N.Y., for $270 million, with PPG retaining a minority interest.

PPG also had filed a counterclaim against Platinum, seeking “appropriate damages, including not only the $25 million ‘break-up’ fee to which PPG is entitled under the [Asset Sale Agreement], but also additional damages reflecting the economic harm suffered by PPG as a result of the Platinum Equity entities.”

COMPANY NEWS
Guardian Acquires Frontier Distributors’ Assets
Guardian Automotive has acquired the assets of Denver-based Frontier Distributors. Based on the asset purchase, Guardian has now opened its own Denver warehouse—though in a different location from where Frontier was based.

“We purchased the inventory, equipment, racking and access to their customer listing,” says Scott Billings, director of distribution operations for Guardian.

Frontier officials could not be reached for comment. A message on the company’s phone system says the company “is currently closed until further notice.”

The Denver warehouse will service the nation’s Southwest and Central regions, according to Guardian. The facility will distribute automotive, truck, bus and RV glass, along with tools and accessories, including mirrors, mouldings, urethane and installation supplies.

In November, Guardian also opened a new retail operation in Lone Tree, Colo., which is located in South Denver.

Joint Venture Planned for China
Central Glass and Saint-Gobain have announced that they will construct an auto glass manufacturing plant together in China. The facility will be created through a holding company in Japan, also to be established as part of the joint venture, according to a joint statement from both companies.

The plant will be built on Saint-Gobain’s property in Qingdao in the Shandong Province with an investment of approximately $68.8 million USD ($17.9 million at the time of establishment) “to accommodate demand from the Chinese automotive market, which has been growing at a fast rate.”

Production at the plant is expected to begin in September 2012.

EVENT NEWS
Dates Announced for Auto Glass Week™ 2012
Auto Glass Week™ 2012 has been scheduled for September 20-22 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky.

The annual event will again bring together all of the industry’s major auto glass groups, including AGRR™ magazine, the Auto Glass Safety Council (formerly the AGRSS® Council), the Independent Glass Association, the National Glass Association and the National Windshield Repair Association, along with AGRR magazine’s repair and replacement competitions.

“We are very, very excited about this year’s event,” says event coordinator Ally Curran. “I think all who attend will find Louisville is a first-class city full of great entertainment, nightlife, shopping and fun. It’s a city you will be glad you visited.”

Curran said the extensive education and the Exhibition/Extravaganza will be held again. “We heartily invite everyone in the auto glass and window film industries to attend,” she says. The Exhibition/Extravaganza will run September 21-22.

A room block for Auto Glass Week is available at the nearby Louisville Marriott Downtown. Reservations can be made online by visiting www.autoglassweek.com and clicking on the hotel link, or by calling the hotel at 800/266-9432 and asking for the Auto Glass Week group.

The International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ also will be held concurrently.
www.autoglassweek.com

AGSC NEWS
AGSC Adapts Validation Program
The Auto Glass Safety Council’s (AGSC) (formerly the AGRSS® Council Inc.) third-party validation program is undergoing several changes in 2012.

First, all AGSC-registered companies will move from random audits to audits of every registered company during the validation period, effective January 1. The validation period also has been lengthened.

“The board voted to make this change because the companies that have been through audits have found it so helpful and thought all would benefit from going through the process,” says AGSC president Debra Levy, publisher of AGRR™ magazine.

There is no change in cost for the program, according to Levy.

In addition, the validation program has been adapted so that when deficiencies or non-compliances are found at an AGSC-Registered company during an audit, validators will schedule a time to return to the business to ensure that these have been fixed. Those with uncorrected deficiencies will be removed as an AGSC-Registered company.

Lastly, the AGSC Board has announced that, though the latest version of the Standard (003-2011) will not be in effect until approved by ANSI, in 2012 validators will provide an informational checklist, created in accordance with the incoming Standard, to companies upon completion of a validation, so that they might be able to see how they have fared under the updated Standard.

AGRSS® Council Becomes Auto Glass Safety Council
The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS®) Council Inc.’s transition to its new name, the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC), is now complete.

“We’re really excited about the name change,” says AGSC Marketing committee chairperson Nik Frye. “We believe it more accurately reflects our true mission—auto glass safety in every respect.”

The organization’s name will appear as follows for all of 2012: the Auto Glass Safety Council (formerly the AGRSS® Council). After December 31, 2012, it will simply be known as the Auto Glass Safety Council.

IN THE NEWS
Philadelphia ABC Affiliate Station Questions Safelite Pricing
An ABC affiliate station based in Philadelphia ran a television news report in November questioning Safelite’s pricing policy, alleging that the company charges different prices based on ZIP code, even in cases of in-shop work. The story asks the following question of consumers: “Is it fair for a company to charge you more for its services based on where you live?”

The report cites an example in which the reporter allegedly attempted to obtain pricing for a windshield replacement on a 2003 Nissan Xterra in several different ZIP codes on the Safelite website in the area of the company’s Cherry Hill, N.J., shop—in each case noting on the website that the vehicle would be brought into the company’s facility. ABC alleges that it obtained prices ranging from $258.95 to $338.95, based on a change of ZIP code.

Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger offered the following statement to AGRR™ magazine in response to the ABC report. “Pricing strategies are confidential,” she said. “This is a case of an investigative journalist attempting to create scandal where there is none.”

She added, “Like all businesses, Safelite uses a dynamic consumer pricing model that fluctuates based on many variables, such as what other competitors the customer might choose to repair or replace your vehicle glass, the availability of a technician in [an] area, and the availability of the right part in [an] area. At Safelite, we believe our consumer pricing model to be fair and offer value.”

briefly …
K&K Glass Inc.,
based in Zephyrhills, Fla., opened a new location in Brooksville, Fla., on November 1 … JN Phillips Auto Glass recently was awarded MassRecycle’s 2011 Gold Award in the Product Stewardship category for its windshield recycling program.

 


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