On 21st May 2015 Wielton, the largest Polish and leading European trailer and semi-trailer manufacturer and Fruehauf, French market leader, signed a strategic cooperation and business development agreement. The value of the transaction amounted to euro 9.5 million. The agreement provides for an option to buy the remaining shares, ie. 34.69% at the end of 2017 from a private investor, involved in the ongoing development of the company, for € 6.6 million plus a bonus dependent on Fruehauf’s performance. The deal opens the way for the newly formed Wielton group to reach the position of Europe’s third largest trailer manufacturer.
The strategic partnership between Wielton and Fruehauf launches a change in the European trailer market. Fruehauf is the market leader in France while Wielton is the largest Polish manufacturer of these products. Two modern production facilities, combined engineering and technical teams , purchases power of the new group and the market position create huge market potential in the field of innovation and manufacturing which will strengthen our competitive advantage and place us in third place amongst leading European manufacturers” – remarked Andrzej Szczepek, President of the Board of Management at Wielton.
“Fruehauf will remain a French company with French management and will continue to manufacture Fruehauf branded products at its production plant in Auxerre. The understanding which we have reached with Wielton is good news for our Clients. It secures a better future for our production facility. We have agreed fundamental directions of future investment which will widen our presence on the French market and will open new export opportunities” – said Francis Doblin, managing Director of Fruehauf.
“I am glad we managed to enter into strategic co-operation with such an excellent company as Fruehauf led by our business partner, shareholder and an excellent manager Mr Francis Doblin. I am confident that new prospects open up for Wielton group including a strong presence in the Western Europe markets. The Fruehauf brand has for years been a leader in trailers in Europe with a huge group of loyal customers. I believe the near future will bring benefits from the transaction for the company and its shareholders” – emphasizes Pawel Szataniak, Supervisory Board Chairman Wielton SA.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP OF TWO LEADERS – WIELTON AND FRUEHAUF EXPANSION
May 21, 2015 r. Wielton SA, Poland’s largest and one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of semi-trailers and trailers, has signed an agreement to acquire 65.31% stake in the French trailer market leader, Fruehauf. The value of the transaction amounted to euro 9.5 million.
The agreement provides for an option to buy the remaining shares, ie. 34.69% at the end of 2017 from a private investor, involved in the ongoing development of the company, for € 6.6 million plus a bonus dependent on Fruehauf’s performance. The agreement was signed after obtaining all the necessary decisions arising from legal regulations. The purchase paves the way for Wielton group to becoming the third largest European manufacturer of semi-trailers with an initial production potential of 11,000 products per annum and a turnover of over 250 million euros.
The entire transaction is financed 20% from the company’s own funds, the rest by bank financing granted by a consortium of banks: Bank BGZ BNP Paribas and Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.
Fruehauf is a leading manufacturer of trailers and semi-trailers with a 44% market share in the core market segments of semi-trailers in France. The company employs over 400 people and produces annually more than 4000 trailers. The annual company profits hover around 2-3 million euros with a turnover of 100 million euros. Fruehauf has a modern production facility in France and recipients of the products are valued customers in Europe, mainly situated in France.
GREATER POSSIBILITIES OF DEVELOPMENT, MORE INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS ON OFFER
The cooperation agreement between the two businesses assumes the preservation and use of the Fruehauf brand, the development of the company’s product range, as well as investment in the manufacturing facility in Auxerre to expand and modernize production capacity for the needs of expansion in Europe, due to the rapid market growth in the last year.
The former longtime president of the company Fruehauf, Francis Doblin, will continue to steer the company and its strategy according to a growth plan worked out jointly with Wielton.
The plan for the coming year is to deepen expertise in the field of joint research and development (R&D). Wielton has a staff of 120 engineers and technicians and has its own Research and Development Centre. Innovative solutions gives the company a competitive advantage in European markets. Research and technical potential of both entities will allow for the development of competencies in design and manufacture, the adoption of best management practices and exchange of knowledge between companies, which translate into even faster response to customer needs and customization of product offerings to the requirements of customers.
The company also expects further synergies that will translate into optimizing the group’s activities.
WIELTON & FRUEHAUF GO GLOBAL
“The agreement, which we signed with our French partner, Fruehauf, creates new opportunities for product development. The partnership worked out contains assumptions about investment and directions for further expansion, which will strengthen the presence of both partners on the European and non-European markets” – explains Andrew Szczepek, CEO of Wielton SA.
Fruehauf’s connection with the Widelton group will strengthen the group’s position on the European market, particularly in Western Europe. Wielton is present in more than 35 markets in Europe, Asia and Africa, where it has developed a competitive advantage in tipper segments and high volume combinations, through the continued implementation of innovative solutions. The recipients of Wielton’s products are leading national transport companies, construction, manufacturing and distribution businesses and foreign dealers of goods vehicles and semi-trailers.
A particular client group are companies from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Norway, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Serbia.
The framework of cooperation between the two businesses also assumes international expansion of Fruehauf products in Europe, especially in the neighboring countries. The scale of both companies and a broad product portfolio should create in the coming years also increased export opportunities beyond the European markets. The plan is to conquer markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
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Fruehauf Group is a leading manufacturer of semi-trailers and trailers. Fruehauf produces annually more than 4,000 semi-trailers, which gives it a dominant position on the French market. Fruehauf headquarters are located in Auxerre in France where the company employs about 400 people. The Fruehauf brand originates from the USA when in 1918 the fruehauf family founded the Fruehauf Trailer Company. After many years of successful global expansion, in the 80s and 90s twentieth century Fruehauf became the leading brand in Europe. In 1997 it was bought by Wabash National Corporation. In connection with this transaction European subsidiaries of Fruehauf Trailer Company began a new stage of development. The company in France was bought by an investment fund on the initiative and with the participation of its managers. Currently in Europe, Fruehauf produces only in France – here the brand managed to survive and maintain a dominant market share.
Wielton SA, headquartered in Wielun, is the largest Polish manufacturer of semi-trailers, trailers and truck bodies. The company is listed on the Stock Exchange in Warsaw and is among the five largest manufacturers in its sector in Europe. Every year, selling more than 6,500 pieces of products, generating an annual turnover of more than EUR 140 million. Wielton currently has 1200 employees.
The company offers 60 types of products. With an extensive sales network, semi-trailer with the Wielton logo are exported to over 35 countries, including Russia, Germany and Hungary, as well as to countries in Asia and Africa. The company was awarded by the Ministry of Economy entitled „Eagle Export” awarded to the fastest growing companies selling abroad. In 2015, Wielton received Research and Development Centre status, which – apart from Wielton – can boast only 34 other companies in Poland. Investment in research and development is an important element of the company strategy. Today the company cooperates with institutes and universities in Poland and abroad, and Research and Development Center has the only in this part of Europe all vehicle research station for trailers.