Webasto acquired the entire South Korean joint venture Webasto Donghee for 100 million euros, making it the largest acquisition in its history. With this deal, the supplier is expanding its core businesses in Asia and gets closer to Hyundai-Kia.
Hyundai-Kia is a major customer of Webasto, and the supplier expects to offer entire battery systems, charging solutions and electric heating systems in future.
The joint venture Webasto Donghee with headquarters in Ulsan dates back to 1987 and previously focused on production and sales of panorama roofs. It now becomes part of Webasto’s global development and production network. “This investment is an important step in strengthening our position as a systems partner to the automotive industry in Asia,” explains Dr Holger Engelmann, Chairman of Webasto’s Management Board, Webasto SE.
The acquisition continues the company’s strategy to concentrate on the e-mobility market in the region indeed. Webasto signed a strategic cooperation agreement last November to set up a battery system facility for electric trucks and buses in China together with Wanxiang A123. The German press agency DPA quotes Engelmann hinting at a volume order for batteries from a large bus manufacturer in China and Webasto is working with cell suppliers from both China and South Korea. In Korea, Hyundai-Kia is the third largest client of the company.
Webasto Donghee runs five plants and around 900 employees in South Korea, China and Slovakia and will operate under the umbrella of Webasto Korea Holdings, Ltd. Webasto manufactures close to car manufacturing hubs due to high logistic cost for heavy batteries and panorama roofs, Engelmann told dpa. The price of the acquisition is 100 million euros, but Webasto expects the new global battery business to return a billion euros by 2025.