Haynes steps up a gear in wake of £5.9m acquisition
For more than 50 years, there's been a Haynes Manual to the hand of nearly every DIY mechanic.
Now, the Yeovil-based publishing group is set to step up a gear, following its acquisition of a US-based how-to portfolio.
Its also a time of transition for Haynes, which posted an annual profits dip earlier this week.
A £1 million restructuring project will see a "small number" of jobs hit at its 70-strong Westcountry headquarters, as it aims to readjust away from loss-making areas of the business and also develop its market from new digital platforms.
Save 10% on all adult and children's Spring Tennis courses at Exeter Tennis Centre when you book before 22 December 2013. Visit www.exeter.ac.uk/sport/exetetenniscentre/coaching.
Terms: Terms and Conditions of University of Exeter Sport apply
Contact: 01392 349675
Valid until: Sunday, December 22 2013
Last week, Haynes concluded a £5.85 million deal with US based Penton Business Media Inc, to acquire its Clymer motorcycle repair and IntertecManuals portfolios.
While the deals will not give Haynes an entire monopoly on the global market, the group is the '880lb gorilla in the room' as Haynes group chief executive Eric Oakley puts it.
He said: "Last week's deal is going to generate incremental profits from the go."
Haynes, which was established by John Haynes in 1960, and is now chaired by his son, J, produces printed manuals in English and Swedish at its Yeovil headquarters.
The business also has 100 staff in California, a small team in Australia and offices in Romania and the Netherlands, the base for HaynesPro.
As the name suggests, the HaynesPro business, acquired six years ago, is aimed at professional mechanics. Unlike the DIY manuals, this area of the business has never gone in for printed books and it is the group's strongest-growing division, with a 13% sales increase over the past year.
HaynesPro is behind an established and evolving range of digital publishing formats, which make the product accessible to users on a wide range of electronic technologies; from i-Phone to tablet to laptop.
"Its capabilities are quite impressive," says Eric.
Translators working for this arm of the business have also built up a digital dictionary which can now automatically translate around 95% of mechanical jargon into the 24 key languages of Haynes' core markets.
Plans are afoot to similarly digitally-enable the entire Haynes range, but, adds Eric, the printed DIY books, will continue to be available for a good while, yet – at least until electronic technologies become cheaper, or can withstand oil spills and greasy fingerprints.
Each Haynes manual is based on a complete vehicle strip-down and rebuild in its workshops, so that the instructions and photographs are easy to follow.
More 150 million Haynes Manuals have been sold throughout the world, with around 20% of its products currently delivered digitally.
Haynes initially cushioned itself from a profits slide when the recession began and retailer orders fell, by bumping up its cover prices. However, earlier this week, the group revealed its annual operating profits fell to £3.8 million ( £5.1 million in 2012).
One particular area of the Somerset-based business is making a loss; driver biographies and histories of iconic car brands. Haynes now plans to move away from this area, while also broadening out its DIY manuals into digital platforms pioneered by HaynesPro.
Its restructuring at the Yeovil plant, which will result in a "small" as-yet-undisclosed number of jobs and will also see Haynes move to outsource its distribution site.