Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. announced the completion of its acquisition of Erwin Hymer Group (EHG), one of Europe’s largest makers of recreational vehicles, effective today (Feb. 1).
According to a press release, the combination of Thor and EHG creates the world’s largest RV manufacturer, with leading positions in both North America and Europe. The acquisition excludes EHG’s North American businesses, and reflects a $194 million purchase price reduction and a $205 million reduction in the obligations the company would have otherwise assumed under the terms of the original stock purchase agreement.
“This is an exciting time for Thor as we complete the acquisition of Erwin Hymer Group, and immediately gain a leading position in the dynamic European RV market,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO. “Europe, the second largest market for RVs globally, is the most logical place to begin the next chapter of Thor’s growth. Having built relationships with the EHG management team over the course of several years, the opportunity to enter the European market with a European industry leader fits squarely within our strategic plan. EHG brings tremendous strengths in product development, technology and production efficiency that complement Thor’s historic strength in the North American market, making our combined company the undisputed global leader in the RV market.”
He added, ”We are committed to our strategic growth plan, and, since the acquisition of Jayco in 2016, we have evaluated numerous opportunities, ultimately deciding the best path for long-term growth was expanding our core RV business geographically into the European market. Now that the purchase is closed, we can focus on our action plans to achieve meaningful operational synergies and sharing of best practices throughout our global operations.”
The acquisition consists of EHG’s European operations, which represent the vast majority and core of EHG’s historical operations and are the “driving strategic rationale for the acquisition,” Thor stated in the release. The acquisition of EHG provides attractive growth opportunities for the combined company, both in the near and long term, through EHG’s leading position in the growing European RV market.
Martin Brandt, CEO of Erwin Hymer Group, commented, “The closing of the sale of EHG to Thor marks the beginning of the next phase in the growth of our business. We are excited to begin working together, learning from each other, enhancing our operations and ultimately providing a satisfying experience for our customers and their families. As we begin to leverage the combined talent of our companies and share best practices across the globe, we are more optimistic than ever about the future and the results that will be achieved by the combined company.”
Christian Hymer, son of the late founder, Erwin Hymer, and member of the EHG supervisory board, said, “In Thor, we found the ideal, long-term strategic owner for the great company that our father built. Thor will provide the resources needed to foster the ongoing entrepreneurial spirit that is the foundation of the Erwin Hymer Group and permeates both companies’ corporate cultures. As significant shareholders, our family is fully committed to the long-term success of Thor and the Erwin Hymer Group.”
As the company announced on Jan. 21, the acquisition excludes EHG’s former North American operations. The exclusion of EHG’s North American operations from the transaction resulted in the financial terms of the stock purchase agreement being amended to reduce both the purchase price by $194 million and the obligations the company would have otherwise assumed by $205 million. The purchase price adjustment resulted in a corresponding reduction in the acquisition financing debt the company syndicated to fund the purchase. The equity consideration component of the acquisition price was fixed at 2.3 million shares with the original stock purchase agreement, and was unchanged.
Martin noted, ”We see many opportunities to grow our combined business, and we are excited to share details regarding many of these initiatives with our investors over the coming quarters. We are already moving forward with teams that are on the ground, ready to leverage the best of Thor and the Erwin Hymer Group to create significant bottom-line enhancements through the sharing of best-in-class operating practices and by continuing to enhance the customer experience throughout the worldwide RV market. We have near-term opportunities to enhance our procurement strategies, leverage technology and engineering resources, cross-pollinate aftermarket support and dealer development methods that will be essential to our integration of EHG.
“Since Thor’s founding with the acquisition of Airstream in 1980, we have consistently worked to maximize long-term shareholder value,” said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor executive chairman. “With the European market in an earlier stage of recovery than the North American market, this largest acquisition in our company’s history is happening at the right moment to join with a leader in the European RV market to accelerate our long-term growth. Completing this acquisition illustrates the optimism we have for our business and our markets, and the confidence we have in our team’s ability to effectively manage our now global business.”