ZF Friedrichshafen AG has successfully completed the sale of R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. to Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC for $149.5 million. The divestment follows ZF’s acquisition of WABCO on May 29, 2020.
Sheppard is an industry-leading supplier of steering technologies for commercial vehicles. The acquisition of Sheppard was transacted by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, OH, which is a subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse that is part of its Commercial Vehicle Systems division.
The planned sale and divestment was previously announced on January 30, 2020, in connection with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice's review of the merger between WABCO Holdings Inc. and ZF, and pursuant to the settlement order approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Knorr-Bremse says the acquisition of Sheppard marks another important step in the company'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.
“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. 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,” says Dr. Peter Laier, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division. “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.”
Dr. Laier adds, “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 18-24 months to complete.
“Responsiveness and value for our customer is at the heart of Bendix, and R.H. Sheppard,” says Mike Hawthorne, Bendix President and CEO. “Today we begin a new chapter in our story. 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.”
Hawthorne notes, “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.”