WABCO Holdings Inc has signed an agreement to acquire privately held RH Sheppard Co Inc, a supplier of commercial vehicle steering systems, headquartered in Hanover PA.
The transaction is subject to customary US regulatory clearance and 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. With 900 employees, 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,” said 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.