Thor Industries has completed its acquisition of Erwin Hymer Group (EHG), one of Europe’s largest makers of RVs. 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.”
“The closing of the sale of EHG to Thor marks the beginning of the next phase in the growth of our business,” said Martin Brandt, CEO of EHG. “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.”
“In Thor, we found the ideal, long-term strategic owner for the great company that our father built,” said Christian Hymer, son of the late founder, Erwin Hymer, and member of the EHG supervisory board. “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.”
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. 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.
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. 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.
“Our balance sheet has historically been a strength for Thor and we intend to maintain that strength and balance sheet discipline,” said Colleen Zuhl, Thor senior VP and CFO. “With the closing of the EHG acquisition, our focus will be on reducing leverage while continuing to invest in our long-term growth initiatives and return capital to our shareholders. We anticipate being able to significantly reduce our debt levels using internally generated cash flows over the next two to three years.”
“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,” said Martin. “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,” said Martin. “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.”
Martin detail some of those plans in an exclusive interview with RV PRO.