Fred Hubacker: Comments on the ZF purchase of TRW – Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press article features Fred Hubacker’s comments on the ZF purchase of TRW.
German transmission maker ZF Group said Friday it has completed the acquisition of Livonia-based TRW Automotive in a mega $12.4-billion deal.
The merger creates the world’s third-largest auto supplier with 130,000 employees and annual sales of more than $34.2 billion.
ZF Group, which makes transmissions and chassis parts, bought the company for its sensor and electronics technology that could be key in the future development of autonomous vehicles and advanced safety features.
“The combined company is a powerhouse of automotive technologies, ranging from driver assistance and occupant safety systems, to drivelines and transmissions, and braking and steering systems,” John Plant, president and CEO of TRW, said in a statement Friday.
The company said Plant will remain with the new company through a transition period but did not say how long that period might be.
“Today marks the day we combine the strengths of ZF and TRW into a worldwide leading systems supplier in the automotive sector,” Stefan Sommer, ZF’s CEO, said in a statement.
Sommer said last fall that he expected the merger to create new jobs in metro Detroit.
TRW employs about 1,300 at its headquarters in Livonia and has buildings in Farmington Hills. ZF Group employs 445 in Northville.
Fred Hubacker, managing director of Conway MacKenzie, said the deal is part of a rising trend towards mergers among automotive suppliers.
“This is more of a story of continuing supplier consolidation and each side brings unique strengths and product offerings and technologies to the new enterprise that makes this deal make sense, and there will be more deals just like it,” Hubacker said.
The closing of the deal marks the start of the integration process of TRW that is projected to last three to five years.
The new company will market itself with the logo ZF TRW. The parent company, based in Germany, operates under the name ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
TRW will operate within the larger company as a new division called Active & Passive Safety Technology.
TRW’s history dates back to the early 1900s when it was making valves and wooden wheels for Henry Ford’s Model T in North America.