Knorr-Bremse completes acquisition

Braking system supplier, Knorr-Bremse, is on track to becoming a leading global manufacturer of steering systems for commercial vehicles.

Knorr-Bremse closed the acquisition of R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. on 1 June 2020.

The contract was signed on 30 January 30 2020 and the purchase price was $149.5 million USD.

Sheppard is an industry-leading manufacturer of steering systems for commercial vehicles in the North American market. The acquisition of Sheppard marks another important step in Knorr-Bremse’s strategic drive to become a leading global supplier of commercial vehicle steering systems following its earlier acquisition of the Hitachi steering business in 2019.

Knorr-Bremse acquired Sheppard from WABCO Holdings Inc., USA (WABCO), which sold Sheppard in connection with the acquisition of WABCO by ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The acquisition of Sheppard was transacted by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, Ohio, USA (Bendix), a North America-based subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse and part of the Commercial Vehicle Systems division.

“The acquisition of Sheppard is another important step for Knorr-Bremse in our strategic drive to become a leading global supplier of commercial vehicle steering systems,” said  said Dr Peter Laier, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division.

“With Sheppard as a leading commercial vehicle steering supplier in the North American market now joining Knorr-Bremse, this opens further opportunities for us as a market leader in braking and driver assistance systems.”

“New advanced driver assistance functions and automated driving solutions require complete control of commercial vehicle dynamics and the related actuators for braking and steering. The combination of Sheppard’s expertise in the field of recirculating ball (RCB) steering systems and Knorr-Bremse’s global brake control expertise and systems know-how forms the ideal basis for the introduction of torque overlay steering (TOS) systems and a broad range of DAS/HAD functions, particularly in the North American market,” he said. “Our recent acquisitions in the commercial vehicle steering business, including Hitachi CVS Steering in Japan in 2019, the steering-related expansion of our joint venture with Dongfeng in China in 2020, and now the acquisition of Sheppard put us among the three leading companies in the global commercial vehicle steering market. We are delighted to welcome Sheppard to the Knorr-Bremse family.”

The transaction involves the entire Sheppard business, including Sheppard’s branded products, manufacturing facilities, sales and service operations, and its interest in joint ventures related to supply and manufacturing. R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. will now form an operating unit of Bendix and retain use of the Sheppard brand name.

The operational integration is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

“Responsiveness and value for our customer is at the heart of Bendix, and R.H. Sheppard,” said Bendix President and CEO, Mike Hawthorne.

“Today we begin a new chapter in our story,” he said.

“This is truly an outstanding opportunity to offer an even more comprehensive range of premier products, performance, and expertise to more effectively serve the needs of our North American and global customer base. Adding Sheppard to our business is evidence of our continued commitment to offer products and services that help improve highway safety and advance the path of expanded driver assistance systems, automated driving systems, and enhanced vehicle performance available through system integration.

“Sheppard has been an integral partner with its commercial vehicle customers in identifying opportunities and designing products to meet their challenges. They’ve built a well-earned reputation based on over eight decades of steering technology development and manufacturing experience. We look forward to working with our new colleagues,” he said.

R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. was founded in 1937 and manufactures components for the global commercial vehicle and transportation industries. The company develops and manufactures steering systems for commercial vehicles and related products and services to the highest quality standards. In 2019, Sheppard generated sales of around 142 million USD and employed around 800 people.

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