Press Releases, 08.04.2011

Joyson and Preh forge a high-growth technology company in the automotive sector

Joyson acquires a majority. Preh management and Deutsche Beteiligungs AG remain major partners, ensuring continuity for customers and employees. 

Joyson Investment Holding Co., Ltd, Ningbo, China, will become the majority shareholder in Preh GmbH, Bad Neustadt an der Saale, Germany. Joyson, a privately held supplier of automotive electronic equipment, will hold 74.9% of the shares. The previous majority shareholder, Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, Frankfurt am Main, as well as the investment funds that it manages (“DBAG Group”) and Preh management continue to hold 25.1%.

The new fast-growing technology company, with more than €500 million in sales, will specialize in the automotive industry and have outstanding access to the European, U.S. and Chinese markets. Preh management will continue to lead and expand the global activities of Joyson and Preh in the automotive electronics market from its location in Bad Neustadt, Germany, thus ensuring continuity for customers and employees.

The majority buyout follows a joint venture that Joyson and Preh established in August 2010 for the Chinese market. The move is designed to exploit both companies’ market potential in Europe, North America and Asia even more systematically than in the past. At the same time, Preh’s long-term equity ratio will be strengthened by a significant capital increase. The ratio will increase to over 40%, allowing the company to exploit the attractive growth potentials in all of its major markets. The parties have agreed to maintain confidentiality concerning the details of the transaction. Execution of the purchase agreement is subject to approval by all relevant authorities. 

The DBAG Group and Preh management acquired Preh in October 2003 as part of a management buyout. The commitment from the DBAG group supported a sustain growth and internationalization strategy for Preh: In 2003, Preh’s automotive sales were €169 million. By 2010, they doubled to more than €343 million, despite the industry crisis. 

Two fast-growing partners join forces—continuity and dynamic development.

The future composition of Preh’s supervisory board speaks for continuity with regard to the philosophy of the company. Dr. Rolf Scheffels, who sits on the board of management of Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, will remain chairman. “During our more than seven years’ commitment to Preh, we had several opportunities to sell Preh successfully. However, since we always pursue a policy of sustainable development for our holdings, we also decided in the case of Preh in favor of a new partner who offered the best potential for continuing the successful growth strategy of previous years,” Dr. Scheffels said. “In the transition period, we will continue to play a constructive role as a partner in the new configuration,” he continued. In this context, Dr. Scheffels recalled the development steps taken by management under the auspices of the DBAG Group. For example, Preh developed into a strictly automotive supplier and took decisive action to improve its competitiveness by investing in new locations in North America and Eastern Europe.

An ideal fit of capabilities and market access

Joyson chairman and partner, Jeff Wang said of the transaction: “We got to know and respect Preh through the joint venture. And because of Preh’s first-rate capabilities, we decided in favor of a majority buyout. Joyson and Preh are an ideal fit because of their roots in different market regions. We will offer our joint customers premium-class quality and cost-efficient interior control systems – worldwide.

Preh remains Preh – but with new market opportunities in China

Dr. Michael Roesnick, chairman of the board of management of Preh GmbH, explained: “China will continue to develop into the decisive engine for the global auto industry. Therefore, the joint venture with Joyson was the logical next step in our internationalization strategy, which ultimately led from our plants in Portugal, Mexico and Romania to China. Joyson’s cooperation in the joint venture convinced them to make a commitment to Preh, and I see this as a great opportunity for us.”

Together with its majority partner Joyson, Preh will improve its market position over the long term and, together with Joyson, open up new market opportunities, particularly in China. “At the same time, it is still true, as we already said when the commitment by Deutsche Beteiligungs AG began. Preh remains Preh!” Roesnick stressed. “Our company is driven by its unique spirit of innovation and by our employees’ strong identification with Preh’s corporate culture. Together with Joyson we want to ensure a maximum of continuity, as well as independence, in order to achieve long-term company success.”

The Preh group of companies is active globally and has 2,500 employees in Germany, Portugal, France, Mexico, the U.S.A., China and Romania. Its headquarters is in Bad Neustadt an der Saale, Germany. The company was founded in 1919. In 2010, it achieved sales of €351 million. Preh’s development and production competence focuses on interior climate control and driver control systems, sensors, ECUs and manufacturing systems for leading automotive manufacturers.

Joyson Automotive is part of the Joyson group in Ningbo, China, which supplies automotive components and also has a real estate division. In 2010 it had 1,800 employees and sales equivalent to €198 million. Joyson’s automotive area consists of the operating companies Joyson Automotive Ningbo, Changchun Joyson, Bosen Corporation Ningbo and Huade Plastics Shanghai; in 2010 the division posted sales equivalent to €125 million. 

Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) is one of the leading private equity companies in Germany. It invests in successful companies that, through their products and services, play major roles in their markets. DBAG stock has been traded on exchanges since 1985. It invests funds from its own equity and from parallel funds. It manages approximately €900 million.