Knorr-Bremse signs agreement to acquire R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc.

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 3, 2020

Knorr-Bremse has strengthened its position in steering systems for commercial vehicles after signing an agreement to acquire R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. Sheppard is one of the leading manufacturers of steering systems for commercial vehicles in the North American market. With the acquisition of 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 2019.

Knorr-Bremse will acquire Sheppard from Wabco Holdings Inc., which is selling Sheppard in connection with the proposed takeover of Wabco by ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The agreed purchase price was US$149.5 million (about NZ$230m). The deal 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. 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,” says Dr Peter Laier, member of the executive board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division.

The combination of Sheppard‘s expertise in the field of recirculating ball steering systems and Knorr-Bremse‘s global system know-how form an optimal basis for the introduction of torque overlay steering systems and functions of driver assistance and automated driving, particularly in the North American market.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, USA, an indirect subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse AG and part of the Commercial Vehicle Systems Division will carry out the acquisition. In 2018, Sheppard generated sales of about US$146 million (about NZ$225m) and employed about 800 people.

“Sheppard is an ideal addition to the product portfolio. As a leading commercial vehicle supplier in North America, Bendix will be even better able to respond to the requirements of North American customers in the different market segments. This is how tailor-made system solutions for North American trucks and buses become possible,” says Michael J. Hawthorne, Bendix president & CEO.

R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. was founded in 1937 and manufactures components for the global commercial vehicle and transportation industries.