Tuesday Ticker: July 15, 2019

Toronto, Ontario — July 15, 2019 —  In this week’s Tuesday Ticker, AutoCanada announces a new CFO, AkzoNobel sells off a major asset and a Californian county declares war on smale-scale collision repairers.

Back with Borys 

Mike Borys has been named as AutoCanada’s next chief financial officer.

AutoCanada announced that it has appointed Mike Borys as its chief financial officer, effective August 12, 2019. An experienced senior chartered accountant, Borys has served as a CFO for a number of organizations, including PTW Energy Services, an electrical and instrumentation provider, Newalta, an engineered environmental solutions provider, The Brick Group Income Fund, a furniture retailer and Famous Players, a movie theatre operator.

With a strong reputation as a shrewed executive, Borys’s appointment is likely to be welcome news for AutoCanada investors. The group has steadily rebuilt investor trust after a difficult period.

Last year, AutoCanada had a total of three CEOs, with investors pressuring one appointment, Mark Warsaba, departed after just a few months in the position.

Earlier this year, the company began $250-million lawsuit Patrick Priestner, AutoCanada’s founder, over claims Preistner had breached his fiduciary and other duties to AutoCanada.


AkzoNobel Says Adieu to Asset

AkzoNobel has sold off a former paint factory Slough, U.K., netting a cool €75 million.

Until 2016, the site had included the company’s manufacturing unit and research and development facility, both of which were moved to a new facility in Ashington, U.K.

Rather than reinvest the money in the company, or pass it on to investors through dividends, AkzoNobel spent €49.16 million to buy back more than half-a-million of the company’s shares. This latest buy-back initiative is part of a broader buy-back that has, to date, bought up 20,541,000 shares from shareholders. So far, AkzoNobel has spent €1.6 billion on the scheme since the beginning of the year. It intends to invest a further €900 million in the buy-back scheme, which is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Buy-back schemes, in essence, destroy shares, meaning that the percentage of company ownership in previously issued shares increases. They are particularly popular with stocks that are attractive to long-term investors.


Beware of Repairs

Sacramento County, California has passed a bylaw making it illegal for residents to perform auto repairs in their own homes in most conditions. According to the region’s news zoning codes, residents may not perform any repairs if they involve using tools not normally found within the home, if the vehicle is not registered to a resident of the home, if the repairs are performed outside a garage or if the repairs leave vehicles inoperable for more than 24 hours.

While auto repairers might not be too concerned by any laws designed to prevent the propagation of ill-equipped fly-by-night auto repair operations, the wording of the by-law implies that the County Council views all auto repair operations to be a blight on a community. The text of the new by-law says: “The chemicals involved in major automobile repair can pollute our neighborhoods and endanger the health and wellbeing of our residents… this kind of activity increases vehicle traffic and the visual impact can negatively impact property values.​”

This isn’t the first case of Not-In-My-Backyardism to target the collision sector in the United States in recent months. In the spring, Detroit auto repairers and recyclers were subjected to new regulations specifically designed to drive down the number of repair operations in the city’s borders. While largely affecting small-scale and unprofessional operations, the bill was criticized for making it difficult for legitimate repairers to do business.

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