Volume 34, Number 8, August 1999

USGAuto News

Safelite Reports Fiscal Results
Safelite Glass Corp. of Columbus, OH, has reported results for its fiscal quarter ending July 3, 1999. The company’s total sales of $239.1 million weren’t far off from the quarter ended July 4, 1998—a 1 percent decrease was reported from last year’s sales.

According to the company, installation and related services sales of $227.9 million were essentially flat for the first quarter as replacement unit volume gains of approximately 8 percent were offset by lower overall industry pricing levels. Additionally, wholesale sales fell approximately $2.9 million to $11.2 million as a result of lower unit sales. According to Safelite, this reflected the company’s decision to move away from less profitable truckload sales and toward greater use of Safelite manufactured products in service center locations.

Safelite Partners with State Auto Insurance
In other news, Safelite and State Auto Financial Corporation of Columbus, OH, a regional property and casualty insurance company, have announced a new partnership through which Safelite will administer all glass claims for State Financial Corporation, regardless of who does the work. Safelite is calling the new program State Auto Glass Service.

According to Safelite, its associates will verify coverage and deductibles on-line, arrange for an auto glass repair or replacement by a Safelite AutoGlass service center or by a glass shop of the policyholder’s preference and handle invoice processing for State Auto.
“Since beginning our relationship with State Auto in 1993, Safelite has focused on controlling claim costs,” said Thomas M. Feeney, Safelite, senior vice president, client sales and support. “We are grateful that our efforts have been acknowledged and are very confident that the efficiency of the new State Auto Glass Service will benefit State Auto agents and policyholders alike.”   

Apogee Restructures Harmon Operations
Disappointed by second quarter forecasts, Apogee Enterprises Inc. of Minneapolis has decided to restructure its auto glass operations around Joe Deckman and bring outside consultants in to evaluate all strategic options regarding auto glass. The company attributes its problems in auto glass to continuing distribution price pressures and soft market demand in its retail marketplace.

“We have reorganized to focus accountability at the local market by combining our sales, marketing and operations into four regional teams, we are realigning our business unit senior management team around Joe Deckman, and have engaged outside consultants to help us examine all of our strategic options,” said Russell Huffer, Apogee’s chairman, president and CEO.

Michaela Diercks, vice president of marketing at Harmon, says these options will not include downsizing. “There are not going to be any layoffs or shrinkages,” she said. “If anything it will be just the opposite. It is about cost management, sales maintenance and getting bigger. We are working to become more cost-effective and drive sales higher. Joe is going to help us do that, and he is going to bring in some fresh faces to help us achieve that.”

Huffer is also optimistic about Deckman’s ability to lead the auto glass segment, given his past experience with the company. “Joe demonstrated his capabilities when he led turnarounds at Wausau beginning in 1995 and Harmon Inc. in 1997, and he was also an integral part of the exit from international curtainwall operations,” said Huffer. “Wausau and Harmon have become solid businesses, with good returns, substantially higher margins and excellent cash flow. Joe will be working closely with our senior management team and outside consultants.”

The figures that led to this change at Apogee were a diluted earnings per share in the range of $0.18 to $0.20 from continuing operations compared with $0.27 per share in last year’s second quarter. The fiscal 2000 second quarter earnings expectations include the effect of approximately $3 million, or $0.07 per share, for the reorganization in the auto glass segment.   


Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.