ZF tops SAF-Holland bid for Haldex

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STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – ZF Friedrichshafen AG has outbid SAF-Holland in the race to buy Haldex, which produces brakes and air suspensions for heavy trucks, trailers and buses.

The cash deal worth 100 kronor (CDN $15.33) per share has been approved by the Haldex Board of Directors, and values Haldex at $670 million. It is still subject to regulatory approval. SAF-Holland had made its unsolicited bid last month, offering about $14.25 per share.

Just last year, ZF purchased U.S.-based TRW, and has since said that it aims to provide a full lineup of commercial vehicle systems needed for autonomous trucks – all part of a corporate vision that has been dubbed “See-Think-Act”. This month it also acquired a 40% stake in Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH, to develop light detection and ranging technology widely referred to as lidar.

 “We believe that our businesses are truly complementary,” says Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF Chief Executive Officer, referring to Haldex. “We are confident that we will be able to continue to develop Haldex’s market position under ZF ownership, thanks to ZF’s technological leadership, global reach and customer access, combined with Haldex’s technological competence, management skills and employees.”

Magnus Johansson, spokesman for the Haldex board, added that: “ZF’s strong capabilities within electronics and software development as well as global reach and customer access offer an excellent opportunity to further develop Haldex, thereby allowing Haldex to continue its development of future braking system and expansion of its current product portfolio”.

Integrated systems clearly play a role in developing autonomous vehicles.

This summer, ZF and WABCO demonstrated a prototype collision avoidance system known as Evasive Maneuver Assist. That combined WABCO’s OnGuardACTIVE radar-based collision mitigation system, Electronic Braking System, Advanced Emergency Braking System, Electronic Stability Control, and vehicle control systems, which were integrated with ZF’s electro-hydraulic ReAX power steering system.

In the prototype, a radar sensor identifies moving or stationary vehicles and alerts the driver about impending rear-end collisions through visual, audio and haptic signals (moderate brake applications). If the driver determines the system can’t avoid a rear-end collision by driver-initiated or autonomous braking alone, the EMA engages to help steer around the obstructing vehicle and bring the truck and trailer to a complete stop.

European Union regulations now require newly registered trucks to be fitted with Electronic Stability Control, Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning systems (LDW).

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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