DPE to exit Westfalia-Automotive and Terwa

DPE Deutsche Private Equity has agreed to sell  Westfalia-Automotive and sister company Terwa to Horizon Global. No financial terms were disclosed. Germany-based Westfalia-Automotive is a maker of towbars, wiring kits and carrier systems for cars and light utility vehicles.


MUNICH, Germany, August 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ –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.

About DPE Deutsche Private Equity
DPE Deutsche Private Equity GmbH (DPE) is an independent German private equity investment company investing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. DPE was founded in 2007 in Munch by Volker Hichert and Marc Thiery and since then has successfully launched two funds, now managing total assets of over €600 million. Since 2007, DPE has acquired an interest in 18 companies and invested in additional 30 add-on acquisitions, which on average have increased their turnover by 16% per annum. Furthermore, about 2,000 new jobs have been created within the DPE family of companies, which currently employs more than 7,200 staff. As an active partner, DPE helps companies to grow by providing them with the growth capital, experience, trust, respect and extensive support that only a family of companies like DPE can. DPE adopts a conservative approach to financing: the equity ratio of DPE participations is on average 80%.For more information, please visit http://www.dpe.de

About Westfalia-Automotive
Headquartered in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, Westfalia-Automotive is one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of towbars, wiring kits and carrier systems for cars and light utility vehicles with an international presence. In total, more than 1,700 different towbar types for almost all vehicle brands are developed and produced. The company has approximately 900 employees. For more information, please visit http://www.westfalia-automotive.com.

About Horizon Global
Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, Horizon Global Corporation (NYSE: HZN) is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of high-quality, custom-engineered towing, trailering, cargo management and related accessory products for original equipment, aftermarket and retail channel customers on a global basis. Our mission is to utilize forward-thinking technology to develop and deliver best-in-class products for our customers, engage with our employees and realize value creation for our shareholders.
For more information, please visit http://www.horizonglobal.com.