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Bendix parent company Knorr-Bremse completes acquisition of R.H. Sheppard Co. Inc.

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Knorr-Bremse, parent company of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and a supplier of braking systems and other technologies for rail and commercial vehicles, announced that the company closed the acquisition of R.H. Sheppard Co. Inc. on June 1.

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Sheppard is an 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, the company noted.

Knorr-Bremse acquired Sheppard from WABCO Holdings Inc. USA, 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. The contract was signed on January 30, 2020. The purchase price amounts to USD $149.5 million.

“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 brak-ing and driver assistance systems,” said 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.

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The transaction involves the entire Sheppard business, including Sheppard’s branded prod-ucts, 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.

“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 added, “Our recent acquisitions in the commercial vehicle steering business, in-cluding 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.”

“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,” said Mike Hawthorne, Bendix president and CEO.

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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 USD $142 million and em-ployed around 800 people.

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