Bendix parent company closes on acquisition of R.H. Sheppard

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Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems parent company Knorr-Bremse announced it closed on the acquisition of R.H. Sheppard Co. on June 1, 2020. The purchase price amounts to $149.5 million.

Hanover, Pa.-based Sheppard is a manufacturer of steering systems for commercial vehicles in the North American market. Knorr-Bremse says the acquisition of Sheppard marks another important step in its drive to become a leading global supplier of commercial vehicle steering systems.

Knorr-Bremse acquired Sheppard from WABCO Holdings, which sold Sheppard in connection with the acquisition of WABCO by ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The acquisition of Sheppard was transacted by Bendix.

“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 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 systems and a broad range of DAS/HAD functions, particularly in the North American market,” Laier says.

“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,” he says.

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. 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, the company says.

“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 says.

In 2019, Sheppard generated sales of approximately $142 million and employed around 800 people.

“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,” Hawthorne says.

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