ZF (ZF Friedrichshafen AG) - the well-known manufacturer of driveline components and transmissions - has entered into an agreement to acquire WABCO.

Together, they will form a "leading global integrated mobility systems provider for commercial vehicles". The combined company will apparently have sales totalling €40 billion.

WABCO is a global supplier of braking control systems and technologies - chiefly for commercial vehicles. It generated €3.3 billion in revenues in 2018. It has approximately 16,000 employees across 40 countries.

ZF, meanwhile, has a global workforce of 146,000 people, with approximately 230 locations in 40 countries. In 2017, it achieved sales of over €36 billion.

Dr. Konstantin Sauer, chief financial officer at ZF, said: "The intended strategic acquisition of WABCO comes at a good time for ZF. Following the successful integration of TRW, ZF has significantly reduced its debt levels.

In fact, we over-achieved in delivering our debt reduction targets. WABCO is a healthy and growing company with a strong cash-flow profile that makes it a seamless fit.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, other "customary" conditions and shareholder approval. It is expected that the transaction will be closed off at the beginning of 2020.

A driveline 'buzz'

In other ZF-related news, the company is creating something of a ‘buzz’ with its driveline electrification technology - for agricultural machinery.

One of its leading ideas in this area is the use of an electrically-driven wheel on an implement – to help the tractor along and to boost overall traction.

This video (below) shows a single-wheel, electric-drive system in use on a large (Pottinger) plough.


According to the company, there are other applications for electric-drive technology; the company also says that it could be used on trailers or slurry tankers.

It says that, by sharing the drive requirement between the tractor and the trailer or implement, there are "substantial advantages in difficult driving situations".