Some would say the writing has been on the wall for some time regarding Protector Glass Industries (PGI)… however, it still has to go down as a sad day for the industry to watch another Aussie company sold off and wound up.
Meanwhile down at HQ, no employee is sure if today is their last, as the inventory is being flushed out the door in a frenzy that resembles Black Tuesday on Wall St.
Customer service is low on the priority list, it’s first in best dressed, as the high tackles fly in during the Easter sale.
Jokes aside, I guess it was no surprise for many who have been reading the signals of late. PGI’s country outlets have been closing up for several months, long serving employees have moved on and the general lack of care, are all indicators of a team that had lost it’s way. No leadership, or incentive.
To be fair, PGI has tried to open new avenues of service, in a final push to survive. Twilight glass deliveries, cheaper pickup options and satellite branch outlets in under serviced areas, are just a few ideas they have tried in recent times.
So what does the future hold? and more importantly, who is the mystery buyer? We believe a deal has been done several weeks ago and the closing down sales confirm this. There is much speculation about how much PGI was sold for. Some say it was going for 10+ at one point and ended up going about 6. Who knows.? And really, who cares? Best leave this discussion for the people who stand around the water cooler with time to speculate…we’re too busy installing glass for a living.
More importantly, since the inventory is being sold off and the network is being closed down, what has actually been purchased? The PGI Brand? The PGI brand has been around for quite some time, but is it really worth anything? If you stopped 10 people on the street and asked “Who is PGI?” i’m guessing you would be faced with some vacant looks.
It’s rumored Belron has taken over, however, I do repeat rumored. Others have mentioned RACQ/NRMA, but again who knows. It’s probably safe to say these corporations do have the financial clout if millions were exchanged. If there is any truth in this, you could only expect that the larger groups would be involved.
I would be surprised if Belron had taken over, especially as they have recently had a clean out in the UK. Closing down their branch network in favor of mobile-only network, is a big deal. This allows them to save on building/office space costs and more importantly rid themselves of the indirect labour.
Not a bad idea in my opinion, since I also tend to believe management get in the way more often than not. Sure, you need a few hands-on managers, but too many chiefs and not enough Indians is a recipe for disaster. Employ competent self managing technicians, pay them handsomely and clean out management. Worked fine for Google, thats how they kicked off, as do most tech companies. The parasites and the funny hand shake clubs come in to milk it later, when the business is established.
In any event, I am not convinced why Australia’s “largest” network of glass stores would want to set up more buildings to sell wholesale. Real estate is well overpriced in Australia and on the edge of a cliff, besides, they already have a wholesale network, broken as it may be.
Another scenario is that PGI has been purchased only to close down for good. Get rid of the competition, or one’s freedom to choose, so to speak. An outside bet, since PGI has not been much competition for anyone for quite some time now, but anything is possible.
Interestingly, the ACCC have just been given new authority to prevent this kind of anti-competitive practice. It would take a brave company to go down this path in the current climate. I’m sure the ACCC are looking for an example company to test on.
Lets not forget Globe. I don’t know much information about this organisation, however, they have a good line of products both generic and genuine. They don’t seem to get drawn into the price war tangles and they offer good products and service. Perhaps they want to expand on the East Coast.
But after all is said and done, I personally believe all the above to be total speculation and opinion. We will all know in good time.
Lets hope whoever has purchased the PGI brand has done so for the right reasons. In the ideal world it would be a nice thought if the industry was blessed with a second glass supplier who would offer every repairer a great product, with great service and in turn lift the quality of an industry in decline. After all, is this not what capitalism is all about.
Updated. 13 June 2016
It has been public knowledge for a several weeks that PGI has gone into administration. Long serving staff has moved on and treated very poorly in the process.
This news is confirmed in the ASIC Register, as PGI status is now listed as “External Administration”. The official de-registered date listed on the ASIC website is 18 May 2016.
Name: PROTECTOR GLASS INDUSTRIES PTY LTD
ACN: 001 427 176
ABN: 51 001 427 176 (External Link)
Previous state number: 19314006
Previous state of registration: New South Wales
Registration date: 24/12/1976
Next review date: 24/12/2016
Status: External Administration
Type: Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
Locality of registered office: BRISBANE CITY QLD 4000
Regulator: Australian Securities & Investments Commission
Edit: 04/09/18 It appeared PGI had been loosing business for some time and challenged the methods some groups had used to steer customers away. See ACCC.