Volume 11, Issue 6 - November/December 2007

Newsworthy           THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS

XPEL to Acquire Performance Tools

XPEL Technologies Corp. recently announced it will acquire Performance Tools Distributing in Dublin, Ohio, in a deal that’s scheduled to close some time in January 2008. The San Antonio-based paint protection provider says it expects this move to contribute in excess of U.S. $3 million to its top-line revenues next year. It also has its eye on the international window film market for future growth potential. 

Performance is currently a two-part operation, including a tool distribution business and a paint protection and window film distribution side. The company’s tool distribution business will become part of XPEL, while its paint protection and window film business will continue to operate under its current ownership and the Performance name. The company’s certified paint protection training center in Ohio will also become part of XPEL.

“What’s going to happen is—the core business of Performance Films will stay in tact,” explains XPEL’s chief executive officer, Steven McAuley. “We’re going to purchase all of the assets that are part of the day-to-day Performance Tools business—inventory, people, customers, processes, desks, computers, all of those things—that will all become a new legal entity and it will be completely separate and apart from Performance Films,” he says. “There will be no connection, other than its principal, George Lewis, who will retain his Performance Films business and also retain an equity position in the new company, XPEL Performance Tools, a legal subsidiary of XPEL.”

Right Time, Right Players
Performance’s current president, Lewis, says the decision was easy for him.

“Everyone’s bringing something to the table,” he says. “Sometimes, when you get partners, you end up with people who just sit on the sidelines. In this case, everybody’s got something they’re going to be involved in.”

Performance’s director of sales and marketing, Patric Fransko, says he’s excited about the possibilities XPEL presents and, specifically, what the combined resources can do for the window film industry.

“I think one of the biggest things that we’re excited about is the access we will now have to chemists,” Fransko explains. “XPEL’s got people that will be able to develop tools specifically for window film—right down to the chemical composition.”

This is something he feels the industry has been missing.

“In the past, tools for the film industry have always been designed and used elsewhere. It was always, ‘Hey, we developed these for the auto body repair industry, but they’ll also work well for film.’ Not anymore,” Fransko says. “Now we will be able to develop and offer film specific tools and we’re really excited about that.”

XPEL recently launched its own brand of paint protection film. When asked, in an exclusive interview with Window Film magazine, if the company had plans of introducing a window film product, McAuley answered, “Sooner than later.”

McAuley says he believes by introducing its own paint protection product and effectively cutting ties with the company’s previous film provider, the 3M Corp. in Minneapolis, Minn., XPEL has attracted the attention of several window film manufacturers.

Gaining Attention
“Many of the meetings that I had were very strategic in nature,” McAuley explained after the company unveiled its new product at SEMA 2007 in Las Vegas. “I can tell you that each one of the main window film manufacturers requested a meeting with me onsite—and not their vice presidents of sales—their chief executive officers.”

McAuley says his company’s interest in the window film business has a lot to do with the industry’s growth potential in foreign markets.

“I’m very optimistic that we will continue to find the right developments in window film,” he explains. “I want us to have a much bigger presence in the industry, because I think there is still a lot of global market to capture.”

An international focus is nothing new for XPEL. The Performance acquisition falls close behind several others. In Mid-October it announced the intent to acquire 100 percent of the stock of ArmourfendCAD Inc. in El Dorado Hills, California; July 3, it announced it had completed the purchase of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Shadow Tinting Ltd. and 1290801 Alberta Ltd., of Calgary, Alberta, (“Shadow”). Just over a month prior to completing the Shadow acquisition, it signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 100 percent of the stock of United Kingdom-based Paintshield Limited, a deal McAuley said would close the week of November 11 – 17, 2007.“Along with Paintshield, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, we also get equity stake in the following countries: France, Italy, Greece, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia,” he explains. —Drew Vass

Bekaert Develops New Warranty
Bekaert Specialty Films recently announced it is offering a new warranty against glass breakage and seal failure. Some dealers have reported the warranty has led to an increase in sales.

“I just closed my third big job, thanks largely to [this] warranty,” says David Oetzel of SunControl Specialists in Gwynedd, Pa. “It clearly set me apart from the competition …”Bekaert says the warranty is designed to give its dealers an advantage.

The PremierPlus warranty replaces an original window manufacturer’s warranty if it is voided by the application of window film, regardless of brand. Bekaert says limited lifetime residential warranties are transferable for up to five years and its new 16-year commercial warranty is the longest commercial warranty available.  www.bekaertfilms.com  

Hüper Optik Gathers its Best
Hüper Optik USA, a Houston-based window film and energy solutions provider, recently hosted its second annual Circle of Regional Excellence (CORE) leadership council. The event gathered the top one percent of the company’s 280-plus dealer network during its 2007 National Distributor and CORE Meeting, held September 27-29 at Harrah’s Reno, in Reno, Nev.

The company says these meetings often produce company-wide initiatives and results. At last year’s meeting, CORE members suggested key projects that have evolved into actual Hüper Optik programs, including Green Initiatives and a corporate marketing program that the company says will empower its dealers and teach them how to secure large commercial jobs for themselves.

“We are so pleased that our CORE members continue to thrive and flourish in their professional growth … we are welcoming this new generation of dealers as overachievers. Our mission is to continue remaining relevant by working with these outstanding dealers to develop programs beyond window film products,” says Faisal Nazir, chief executive officer. “Last year’s CORE members helped us shape a strategic direction for the company, by developing key projects for the Hüper team to work toward … at this year’s meeting, we will share how these products have become part of our best business practices, and have them develop new projects for the company to work on.”

Hüper Optik says each dealer has earned CORE recognition for demonstrated excellence in business sales growth, mentoring other dealers within the network and for willingness to initiate strategies that expand the window film industry.

CORE members for 2007 include: Steve Clark, Window Innovations in Brentwood, Calif.; Ken Greenwood, Sun Shade Film Systems in Canada; Brad Kerwin, The Tint Shoppe in Kansas City, Neb.; Hugh Hernandez, Danny’s Family Window in Scottsdale, Arizona; Kevin Lee, Lee’s Solar Technology in College Grove, Tenn.; Steve Meyer, an honorary member with Suntech Glass Tinting in Houston; Eric Nagy, Sierra Window Tinting in Sparks, Nev., also an honorary member; and Hank Weiss, Glass Tint in Trenton, N.J. www.huperoptikusa.com 

Solutia Funds Alabama Hurricane Research
St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. recently sponsored a study conducted by the Louisiana St. University’s (LSU) Hurricane Center. The center’s director, Dr. Marc Levitan, headed the study, aimed at predicting what will happen to Alabama the next time a hurricane strikes. The study shows that incorporating just three wind-resistant features into residential buildings, such as impact resistant windows or hurricane films, could reduce damage and economic losses by as much as 87 percent.

The study used FEMA’s HAZUS-MH Hurricane Wind Model to analyze losses from a Category 3 hurricane simulated to strike Alabama’s coast. The model was run two ways:  once using residential building inventory from the 2000 census and once assuming buildings were built to the 2003 International Residential Code (IRC) building standards.

The study assumed three basic changes to Alabama’s codes and construction practices, which would bring houses into compliance with the IRC for wind resistance: required use of shutters or impact resistant windows to reduce structural and building damages; required use of fasteners to keep roofs attached to buildings; and required installation of metal hurricane clips or straps to prevent catastrophic roof uplift failures.

“The study clearly shows that thousands of Alabama homes are at risk of being severely damaged due to a lack of a statewide mandatory minimum building code requiring strong wind protection,” says Nanette Lockwood, director of legislative affairs for Solutia. “The study showed that the incorporation of just three wind-resistant features could reduce the number of homes destroyed or severely damaged by as much as 87 percent. This could lower economic losses, such as damage to buildings and contents, by more than 70 percent.”

Dr. Levitan’s team also went a step further, by examining the financial implications of enacting a statewide code. According to the study, the majority of Alabama residents would experience little or no building cost increase.

“The idea behind a statewide building code is that it protects people and property throughout the state,” says Lockwood.  “This study has shown that not only would a statewide building code likely save thousands of homes, it would also likely save homeowners, insurance companies and, ultimately, taxpayers billions of dollars in hurricane-related damage costs. And it would do so with minimal building cost increases for the majority of the state’s population.” 

Compared Losses According to Simulation
  Assuming current building stock Assuming tougher 
building codes 
and construction practices
Percent difference
Buildings Damaged 184,000 (11% of total building stock) 131,000 -28%
Buildings Severely  Damaged or Destroyed 33,000 4,300 -87%
Economic Losses $6.7 billion $1.9 billion -72%
Source: Solutia Inc.


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