View From The Bridge - January 2017

Welcome to the first OATS Bulletin of 2017.

As HaynesPro have acquired OATS in December of 2016, this will be my first View From The Bridge as the Managing Director for HaynesPro & OATS.

Looking back at 2016 we can safely say it's been a pretty momentous year all round: seismic shifts in geo-politics, interesting sports titles, lubes production growth looking generally healthy along with the auto industry and, perhaps most significant of all for this Bulletin - a new owner for OATS!

Arguably the most significant political upheavals of 2016 were the UK's vote to exit the EU - otherwise known as Brexit - in June.  Then, some months later, the US voted for a new President: Republican businessman Donald Trump. On a lighter note, Portugal won the Euro 2016, which was their first major international prize.

Based on OATS Bulletin readership, amongst 2016's top 10 articles of interest concerning the lubricants industry: Shell India's drive for growth and China's CNPC predicting more activity overseas were both high on the list.  Also in Asia, Myanmar was seen as a promising market for lubes, oil and gas, while Sebastian Crawshaw's EuropaLub presentation showed that, despite shrinkage, Europe remains an important market for the lubricants sector. Meanwhile, Africa was predicted to be a lucrative market for automotive lubes.

Unfortunately we bade a fond farewell to a particularly high number of personalities in 2016.  From politicians Fidel Castro, Shimon Peres and First Lady Nancy Reagan, to music icons David Bowie, Eagles founder member Glen Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen and most recently George Michael amongst many. Boxer Muhammad Ali, golfer Arnold Palmer and, for my being a Dutchman, we were particularly hit in the Netherlands with the passing of our national football hero Johan Cruyff.

Then there was astronaut John Glenn and long list of actors including Alan Rickman, Star Wars' Carrie Fisher and, sadly just one day later, her mother Debbie Reynolds, who will all be remembered.

Fortunately new stars we’re born as well in 2016;  At Euro 2016 the Wales football team put in some remarkable performances, France’s Antoinne Griezmann confirmed his status as superstar and Renato Sanches showed that Portugal is more than just Ronaldo. Formula 1 saw young Dutchman Max Verstappen win his first Grand Prix and American teenager Simone Biles created artistic gymnastic history at the Olympics in Brazil.

Most importantly for OATS itself, the end of 2016 marked a significant - but very positive -  milestone in the life of the company. After more than 20 years of ownership by Sebastian Crawshaw, OATS was acquired by another UK-based company with a 50+ year history in Automotive data; the Haynes Publishing Group PLC.

The OATS brand will become part of the HaynesPro Division, adding to a portfolio of products and services now recognised as the leading source of online automotive technical data across Europe.

So, 2017 is set to be an exciting year as the two organisations join forces to further enhance product offerings and strengthen the customer base and partnerships.

We are looking forward to discussing with OATS' partners and customers how we can continue to build on the legacy that Sebastian and his team have built.

In the meantime, we wish you a very Happy and Prosperous 2017 and, as always, you can find out more about the ways OATS can help enhance your business by simply contacting us via e-mail.

Peter van der Galiën and the OATS team.