German manufacturer, Knorr-Bremse, has strengthened its commercial vehicle steering system portfolio following an agreement to acquire North American operation, RH Sheppard, for $149.5 million USD.
With the acquisition of RH Sheppard, Knorr-Bremse is broadening its international position in the field of steering systems, having already achieved a major expansion in Asia with the acquisition of the commercial vehicle steering division of Hitachi Automotive Systems in Japan in spring 2019.
Knorr-Bremse is to acquire Sheppard from WABCO Holdings Inc., USA (WABCO) which is selling RH Sheppard in connection with the proposed takeover of WABCO by ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF).
The closing of the acquisition of Sheppard by Knorr-Bremse is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is contingent upon the closing of the ZF acquisition of WABCO. Closing is expected in the first half of 2020.
“For Knorr-Bremse the acquisition of Sheppard is another important step in our strategy to become a global manufacturer of steering systems for commercial vehicles,” said Knorr-Bremse Executive Board Member, Dr Peter Laier.
“With integrated steering and braking systems for commercial vehicles, we can realise globally expanded functions in driver assistance and automated driving together with our customers and leverage cost potential through system integration.”
RH Sheppard’s expertise brings optimal base for automated driving acccording to Knorr-Bremse. Complete control over the transverse and longitudinal forces of a commercial vehicle is a necessary prerequisite for system solutions in driver assistance and automated driving solutions. The combination of Sheppard’s expertise in the field of recirculating ball steering systems (RCB) and Knorr-Bremse’s global system know-how form an optimal basis for the introduction of torque overlay steering systems (TOS) and functions of driver assistance and automated driving, particularly in the North American market.
The acquisition will be carried out by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, USA, an indirect subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse AG and part of the Commercial Vehicle Systems Division.
In 2018, RH Sheppard generated sales of around 146 million USD and employed around 800 people.