WABCO to Expand Into Steering Capabilities with RH Sheppard Co. Acquisition

WABCO has agreed to acquire RH Sheppard Co., a supplier of commercial vehicle steering technologies, further broadening its product portfolio and efforts toward enabling its vision for autonomous vehicle operation.

WABCO Holdings Inc., a leading global supplier of technologies and services that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire privately held RH Sheppard Co., Inc., a key supplier of commercial vehicle technologies, including industry-leading vehicle steering capabilities, headquartered in Hanover, PA, U.S.A. 

The transaction is subject to customary U.S. regulatory clearance and it is expected to close by the end of the third quarter 2017. WABCO’s purchase price is $145 million, subject to customary adjustments. Sheppard had sales of $130 million in 2016. 

A key tier-one supplier in North America, Sheppard offers a suite of power-steering gears that has set the industry standard for heavy-duty commercial and specialty vehicles. Employing more than 900 persons, Sheppard also provides precision engineered engine pumps and state-of-the-art remanufacturing services. In addition, the company is vertically integrated with its own manufacturing and advanced foundry capabilities, which WABCO expects to use for some of its products. 

Furthermore, through an existing exclusivity agreement with a leading supplier of steering actuation controls, Sheppard will be able to offer a compact, cost-effective, breakthrough technological solution that enables active steering control for commercial vehicle manufacturers in North America. 

“This acquisition represents another key milestone as WABCO advances toward enabling self-driving commercial vehicles,” says Jacques Esculier, WABCO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have a clear line of sight on the fundamental technologies – such as active steering, active braking, electronic stability control and other advanced driver assistance systems – which will enable significant intermediary steps on our industry’s path to realize fully autonomous driving.” 

Full dynamic control of commercial vehicles – lateral and longitudinal – is necessary to progressively achieve the industry’s vision of autonomous driving. The acquisition of Sheppard is a key capability toward providing lateral control through active steering, which is a cornerstone that complements WABCO’s leading technologies in longitudinal control through active braking, stability and suspension controls. 

Sheppard has been leveraging its technologies to develop products specially adapted for regions outside North America. Sheppard already manufactures and sells these products through a joint venture in China and will use WABCO’s global network to reach into other regions. 

“We are excited at the prospect of joining WABCO,” says Oliver Hoar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sheppard. “Our leading technologies will be fully integrated into the strategy of this industry leader on a journey to create opportunities for further growth in North America and globally.”