Upfront: Grounded on Groundhog Day

By Steve Noe

As I write this column on Groundhog Day, I am currently housebound here in Chicago, caught in possibly the biggest blizzard of my life with nearly two feet of snowfall expected and 50-mph winds causing whiteout conditions.

This blizzard is so massive and disruptive that I heard that it was going to affect two dozen states and nearly one out of every three Americans, making many of you undoubtedly happy with extremely high demand for snowblowers and other snow removal equipment. I certainly hope that you were able to meet that demand and reap the rewards.

Before a power outage occurs, I wanted to pass along the following late-breaking news:

EPA grants E15 fuel waiver for MY 2001-06 cars and light trucks: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Jan. 21 waived a limitation on selling gasoline that contains more than 10-percent ethanol for model year (MY) 2001-2006 passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15-percent ethanol, which is known as E15.

“The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is disappointed with EPA’s decision to expand its partial waiver to 2001-2006 model year vehicles,” said Kris Kiser, executive vice president of OPEI. “Current law prohibits the sale of E15 or any other fuel that contributes to the failure of any emission control device on any engine. Yet, E15 has been shown to adversely affect engines in non-road products. 

“As part of the Engine Products Group, we are currently challenging in court EPA’s grant of a partial waiver permitting gasoline with E15 for 2007 model year-and-newer vehicles. We remain committed to continue working with the administration and other stakeholders to avoid misfueling, which could lead to permanent damage of non-road equipment and older vehicles, and working to ensure the safe and reliable use of those products.”

Online registration open, prizes announced for GIE+EXPO 2011: Online registration is now open for the 2011 Green Industry and Equipment Exposition (GIE+EXPO), which will be held in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 27-29. And if you register early, you stand more chances than ever to win prizes.

Register now and you will be entered to win tickets to Kentucky’s first-ever Sprint Cup to be held July 9 in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. The Sprint Cup will feature racing heavyweights, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

GIE+EXPO’s Refer-a-Friend program will award an Apple iPad to one lucky winner. To enter, registrants must register online and then send an online invitation to others. Those invited will get a special code to enter upon registering in order to be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced at the show.

An early-bird registration fee of $10 is being offered until Sept. 14. After Sept. 14, pre-registration will be $25. The onsite registration fee will be $50. To register online and learn more about show updates, events and Refer-a-Friend, go to www.gie-expo.com. You may also contact Sellers Expositions at (800) 558-8767, (812) 949-9200 or info@gie-expo.com.

Honeywell to sell its Consumer Products Group business: Honeywell announced on Jan. 28 that Rank Group, a New Zealand-based private investment company, will acquire its automotive Consumer Products Group (CPG) business in a cash transaction valued at approximately $950 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011. Upon regulatory approval, the company expects to account for CPG as Discontinued Operations. The company’s 2011 EPS guidance excludes the anticipated book gain on the sale of CPG, which it expects to utilize for repositioning and other actions. The benefits of these actions, together with the deployment of divestiture proceeds, are expected to more than offset lost CPG earnings beyond 2011.

The CPG business, which is headquartered in Danbury, Conn., and has more than 2,000 employees, includes four leading consumer automotive brands: FRAM filters, Prestone antifreeze, Autolite spark plugs, and Holts car care products. Currently reported within Honeywell’s Transportation Systems segment, the CPG business had 2010 sales of approximately $1 billion. Following the divestiture of CPG, Transportation Systems, which includes Honeywell’s global turbocharger and braking businesses, will continue to operate as one of Honeywell’s reported business segments.

For more information on these and other stories, visit www.outdoorpowerequipment.com. By the way, the groundhog failed to see its shadow today, so spring is coming early this year!

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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