DPE sells Westfalia-Automotive and Terwa to Horizon Global

Aug 26, 2016

  • Combination of two leading manufacturers of towing systems
  • Complementary acquisition will transform global footprint
  • DPE will become largest shareholder of Horizon Global with 10%

Munich, Germany, 26 August 2016. DPE Deutsche Private Equity (DPE), together with its co-investors, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Westfalia-Automotive and Terwa to Horizon Global (NYSE:HZN). Horizon Global is a global designer, manufacturer and distributor of towing, trailering, cargo management and related accessory products for original equipment, aftermarket and retail channel customers headquartered in Michigan, USA. The transaction combines two leading manufacturers of towing systems.

Very positive corporate development under DPE ownership

In 2011, DPE acquired Westfalia-Automotive, the innovative European leader of towbars and rear-end transport solutions, with a vision of geographical expansion and product line extension. Since then, DPE has executed several strategic growth initiatives, including the acquisition of sister company Terwa in 2015 that is central to the expansion of production capacity and strengthening of the aftermarket footprint in Eastern Europe, leveraging the local manufacturing cost advantage in Romania to further improve profitability. Capital provided by DPE also made possible the development and launch of the latest sensor based 4th generation of towbars.

“We are immensely proud of the achievements Westfalia-Automotive accomplished in partnership with DPE and pleased that more than 380 jobs were created during our involvement”, says DPE founding partner Volker Hichert. Under DPE ownership, sales grew by more than 50% to €220 million. “We thank DPE for their patronage and are grateful for their valuable contributions and support during the last years. The sale of Westfalia to Horizon Global is a great outcome for our company which offers new exciting perspectives to employees, customers and shareholders. Now, we are very much looking forward to becoming a member of the Horizon Global family”, Bernd Welzel, Chief Executive Officer, Westfalia-Automotive added.

Complementary acquisition will transform global footprint

With this transaction, the Westfalia brands will gain an expanded global reach and its products will become available to a significantly larger customer base, enabling the continued innovation of new technologies and products based on a global production footprint. The combination of the companies will greatly expand Horizon Global’s OE footprint, supporting collective global customers, and also enhancing product leadership in the aftermarket channel. “Our company is extremely pleased to add the iconic brands, design innovation, and manufacturing expertise of Westfalia and Terwa to our proven global platform,” said A. Mark Zeffiro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Global.

DPE will become largest shareholder in Horizon Global

Horizon Global intends to fund the acquisition with €89 million in cash, €36 million in Horizon Global common stock and assumed net debt of €42 million. With a 10% shareholding in Horizon Global, DPE will become the largest shareholder after closing of the transaction. Volker Hichert commented, “We are excited about the prospect of building a relationship with Horizon Global as it moves into the next phase of growth with the acquisition of Westfalia. DPE has been highly active in the sector, and Horizon Global stands for the type of company in which we seek to invest – a strong management team, leading industry brands and global scale with this new combination of companies representing an inflection point to drive significant global growth and shareholder value.”

Subject to customary closing conditions, completion of the transaction is expected to occur in autumn 2016.