Erwin Hymer Group sold to US giant Thor Industries
Thor Industries at the signing of the landmark deal
The giant American manufacturer of recreational vehicles, Thor Industries, has acquired the German motorhome and caravan manufacturer, the Erwin Hymer Group (EHG).
EHG already sells its motorhomes, campervans and caravans through a worldwide network of more than 1,200 dealers and has more than 7,300 employees globally. The move will give it additional access to the huge US market.
Two years ago EHG acquired a major presence in the UK motorhome manufacturing landscape when it purchased the Explorer Group, which makes Elddis and now Compass and Avantgarde motorhomes at its plant in Consett, Co Durham.
In the 2018 financial year, EHG expects to generate revenues of over €2.5 billion (£2.28bn).
Thor paid approximately €2.1 billion (£1.91bn) in both cash and shares to the Hymer family, who became holders of 2.3 million Thor shares as part of the deal.
The deal means the Hymer family will remain engaged in the motorhome and caravan industry. However, Thor also said it intends to buy back those shares, ‘both opportunistically and systematically’.
Christian Hymer, son of the late founder, Erwin Hymer, said, "With Thor Industries, our family has found the ideal new owner partner for the Erwin Hymer Group to successfully continue on its long-term growth and internationalisation path. Thor Industries and the Erwin Hymer Group are cut from the same cloth and, in their philosophy, still bear the stamp of their founders. An entrepreneurial mindset, a spirit of innovation and quality leadership are top priorities for both groups.”
It is also understood Thor acquired some €300m (£273m) of the Erwin Hymer Group’s debt.
In a statement, Thor said the acquisition “creates the world’s largest recreational vehicle manufacturer, with the leading position in both North America and Europe, and establishes a global sales and production footprint for the company.”
So far, Thor RVs have had limited exposure here, although the Swift Group recently began selling its Airstream caravans in the UK.
Now it has a huge presence as the Erwin Hymer Group manufactures motorhomes and campervans in Europe under a massive array of brands:
- Niesmann + Bischoff
It also operates three motorhome rental businesses: McRent, Rent Easy and Best Time RV.
“The Erwin Hymer Group has an unparalleled history and reputation, as well as a talented management team that is focused on building on that tradition and charting new, attractive growth opportunities for the Company,” said Bob Martin, Thor President and CEO.
“This transaction provides Thor a unique opportunity to grow with the European RV market leader. The transaction gives us access to a new market with favorable macro and secular trends affecting RV demand similar to those we have seen in North America. In addition, we see numerous areas for near-term and long-term synergies between the Erwin Hymer Group and our existing subsidiaries and are eager to begin working with the entire Erwin Hymer Group.”
Thor said no changes in production facilities or employee levels are anticipated as a result of the transaction, adding that Martin Brandt will continue to lead the Erwin Hymer Group as its Chief Executive Officer.