The Carlyle Group Purchase Service King

 3) Autobody Industry News  Comments Off on The Carlyle Group Purchase Service King
Feb 262013

Service King Collision Repair Centers, the Dallas-based auto body repair chain, is being acquired by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Service King founder Eddie Lennox will retain a significant minority ownership position in the company and CEO Cathy Bonner will become chairman, representing Lennox on the board of directors.

Lennox founded Service King 36 years ago with one location in Dallas.  It has grown to nearly 50 location through a combination of opening new locations organically as well as through the acquisition of complementary locations.

 Posted by at 1:24 PM

What to do While at NACE in New Orleans!

 3) Autobody Industry News  Comments Off on What to do While at NACE in New Orleans!
Sep 272012

Are you heading to NACE in New Orleans, LA?  Well we have decided to post a few of our favorite food spots — those a bit off the map, but absolutely 100% New Orleans.

  • Acme Oyster House:  As the name suggests, this place is known for its oysters.  And if you are really adventurous, try the Oyster Challenge.  If you can consume 15 dozen oysters in one hour, you’ll get your name on their Oyster Hall of Fame.  To be the all-time bivalve champion, you’ll to get through 43 dozen.  And don’t forget to try the fries – they are a New Orleans institution.
  • Cafe du Monde:  If you want a cup of coffee before heading off to the conference, stop off at this New Orleans landmark.  Cafe Du Monde Coffee was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.  Besides coffe, the are famous for their beignets — a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar.  Go to the original in the French Quarter.
  • Antoine’s Restaurant:  Since 1840, world-renowned Antoine’s Restaurant has set the standard that made New Orleans one of the greatest dining centers of the world.  It is the birthplace of such culinary classics as Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou and Pommes de Terre Souffles.  Be prepared to spend some money, or better yet get your paint company to foot the bill.
  • Commander’s Palace:  A New Orleans institution in the Garden District. Behind the turquoise and white shades, the Haute Creole cuisine has been evolving since opening in 1880.  Plus look into a break for lunch where you can get a great meal and indulge in the 25 cent martini — schedule your lunch so you do not need to return to the convention!
  • Domilise’s:  In a city where it seems there are as many po’boy joints as people, Domilise’s stands apart. The cottony French bread is from Leidenheimer, the iconic local bakery; the catfish, shrimp, and oysters are freshly fried; and the proprietors are adept practitioners of New Orleans–style gruff love. There’s even a strange ritual that involves standing in line to obtain a number that grants you the privilege of standing in another line to order. This is how things are done in New Orleans, but after biting into a sandwich at this ramshackle corner restaurant, you won’t be inclined to question it.
  • The Galley:  A New Orleans–style neighborhood restaurant given over almost entirely to the bounty of the local brackish waters. The menu features boiled shrimp, crawfish, and crabs as well as fried seafood po’boys, shellfish pasta, and simply prepared entrées of fresh finfish. Owners Dennis and Vicky Patania have been serving their famous fried soft-shell crab po’boy at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 35 years.
  • Cochon:  A revelation, not for its ability to make Cajun food seem as au courant as Mediterranean, but because it does so without dressing the cuisine infancy clothes. Meals begin with small plates of fried rabbit livers on pepper jelly toasts and wood oven–roasted oysters, and continue with country-style charcuterie such as headcheese and boudin; the procession of courses peaks with exceptional main dishes like brothy rabbit and dumplings served in a cast-iron skillet, or ham hocks and grits in brown gravy (imagine osso buco with a drawl). All pay loving tribute to the region’s rural cuisine while suggesting there’s more to it than one might have assumed.  Bring the checkbook!!!
  • Pat O’Briens:  The Hurricane became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in 1940’s New Orleans, apparently debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair and was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses the first drinks were served in. It’s said that O’Brien created the heavily rummed drink as a means to get rid of the large stock of rum his Southern distributors forced him to buy.  We suggest you stop here because after a few of these, you’ll be stumbling back to your hotel.

Enjoy NACE and enjoy New Orleans!!!

 Posted by at 8:41 AM
Sep 272012

We at would like to acknowledge the winners of the 2012 AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings (“A&AC”) Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry.

Current and past honorees are leaders in the collision repair industry and their communities, in addition to the tremendous contributions they have made to their respective businesses.  Below are the 2012 honorees.

  • Kim Parson:  President of Automotive Collision Technologies, Inc. in Randallstown, MD
  • Catherine Mills:  Executive Director of the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance in Orange Park, FL
  • Kim Roberts:  Manager of Fix Auto in Barrie, Ontario
 Posted by at 8:33 AM
Sep 192012

It seems that every single week now, one of the major multiple-shop collision operators has acquired yet another store.  Just today, Service King Collision Repair Centers announced the purchase of Express Autobody, a collision repair center headquartered in Georgetown, Texas.  Express Autobody becomes Service King’s 50th location in Texas, and its sixth collision center in the Austin marketplace.

Even with this record level of consolidation, the majority of collision repair shops are single-store, single operator.  But in the opinion of the team at, insurers are the single largest driving force (no pun intended) behind the consolidation trend.  Why?  Doing business with multiple-shop operators (MSOs) is substantially easier: single point of contact, consistency of product, strong KPI measuring systems, implementation of EDI cost savings, etc.

Consolidation is not unique to the collision repair industry.  Other industries, such as funeral homes, have also been industries having experienced waves of consolidation.  With current growth slowing and projected growth to be flat, overcapacity is developing which in turns can lead to declining profit margins.  Moreover, the single-operator represents nearly 9 out of 10 operators, so the industry is highly fragmented providing excellent opportunities for the best operators to gain share and further marginalize the bottom performers.  In the classic sense, the collision repair industry is in “survival of the fittest” mode and scale can help survive.

But all is not lost for the single-shop, single-operator model.  Business leaders have generally concluded that industries are fragmented (non-consolidated) for five general reasons:

  • Low barriers to entry
  • Lack of power advantages between buyers, suppliers and/or customers
  • No economies of scale
  • Regional issues: transportation costs, diverse markets, etc.
  • Regulatory issues

So the logic becomes, “Can I eliminate one of more of these industry dynamics to consolidate what otherwise appears to be unconsolidateable?”  Many folks have tried with fragmented industries in the past, such as funeral parlors, dry cleaners and lawn care.  The success has been mixed, at best.  Just because you have scale doesn’t mean you will achieve economies of scale or gain power over your suppliers.  And in today’s work where technology costs continue to decrease as does the cost to reach customers, a single-location collision repair shop should be able to uniquely define its business and target customers accordingly.

So will consolidation work out for consolidators?  It remains to be seen, but we at certainly do not believe the well operated, single-location collision repair shop will become a thing of the past.

 Posted by at 3:04 PM
Sep 022012

The private equity firm the Carlyle Group has agreed to buy DuPont Performance Coatings, a maker of automotive paints and related products, for $4.9 billion as it continues its drumbeat of acquisitions.

DuPont is selling its coatings business, one of its largest divisions, as it increases its focus on food, energy and protection materials.  DuPont Performance Coatings manufactures paints for cars, trucks and appliances. It makes the bulk of its money, 43 percent, from sales to auto repair shop.

Carlyle Group said it had been attracted by the unit’s technology and brands, as well as its business in developing markets like China and Brazil.  DuPont Performance Coatings is expected to generate more than $4 billion in revenue this year.

 Posted by at 2:19 PM
Aug 152012

Hailstorms are extremely costly for U.S. auto insurers.  By several estimates, in June alone $1.7 billion was paid out to policy holders in connection with hailstorm damage.  The worst place to own a car was in Texas where storm damage has hit nearly 100,000 automobiles causing over $1 billion in claims.

The flip side to all this is that its great to be an autobody repair and/or glass repair shop in Texas.  And if you are already in Texas, you may want to consider expending into either Colorado and Wyoming, which were #2 and #3 in damages with more than $700 million in reported losses.

 Posted by at 2:30 PM
Aug 152012

Service King Collision Repair Centers, the Dallas-based auto body repair chain, is being acquired by affiliates of the Washington, DC based private equity, The Carlyle Group.  The deal was announced in late July and is expected to close in August.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Service King founder Eddie Lennox will retain significant ownership in the company and CEO Cathy Bonner will become chairman, representing Lennox on the board of directors, according to a release.

Lennox founded Service King 36 years ago with one location in Dallas. It has grown to 23 Dallas-Fort Worth locations, 12 Houston locations, nine locations in San Antonio and five in Austin. The company recently announced it was buying nine collision centers in Arizona later this year.


 Posted by at 2:02 PM