Stockdorf, Germany - Automotive roof and thermal systems supplier Webasto AG has finalised its takeover of the Edscha Convertible Roof Systems (CDS) business following approval of the deal by the German cartel authorities.
A purchase agreement by Webasto and Dr Jorg Nerlich, the insolvency administrator of Edscha AG in August 2009, has become effective and Webasto will merge its Convertible Business Unit with Edscha CDS as a wholly owned subsidiary, Webasto-Edscha Cabrio. This unit started operating 1 Jan 2010.
"Probably the most serious crisis in the automotive industry has accelerated the consolidation of our industry. Our objective was to steer Webasto safely through the crisis," said Franz-Josef Kortum, Webasto chairman, in a 4 Jan company statement. Kortum noted that Webasto wanted "an active role in that consolidation," and said that this combination of its convertible business with Edscha's, is "a decisive step for Webasto to maintain our long-term business," in this market.
The new Webasto-Edscha Cabrio unit will have its headquarters in Hengersberg, with a management team led by Axel Schulmeyer as chairman. Webasto-Edscha Cabrio will have sales of about Euro 320 million ($464 million) in 2009, generated by a workforce of about 1350 at seven locations.
The new operation will give customers the chance for, "one-stop shopping for convertible roof systems," drawing on the combined and highly specialised expertise in R&D and production and probably the widest product portfolio in the industry, said the statement.
"Regardless of whether we deliver niche models or high volume vehicles, soft-tops or retractable hardtops, we are aiming to become the world's most capable and visionary supplier of convertible roof systems," said Dr. Holger Engelmann, board member for the Convertible, Roof & Body Business Division at Webasto.
The R&D centre for convertible roof systems will be in Germany. Convertible production takes place at plants in Europe (six), Japan (one) and at a new project in Mexico. "Future projects will be produced close to our global customers' plants," said the group.
After the merger, Edscha CDS will retain proven structures but with the added benefit of Webasto expertise: for instance, all plants will see the gradual deployment of the successful Webasto production system. "I am confident that we'll be using the strengths of all our plants for the success of the merger between the Webasto and Edscha convertible business units," said Schulmeyer in the statement, noting: "It will be a good safeguard for our company being under the roof of a traditional and robust family enterprise." EPW