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ZF to Acquire Cherry

July 30, 2008

By incorporating the manufacturer of electronic components, ZF will reinforce its competency to support the automotive industry.


FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany & PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- ZF Friedrichshafen AG is further expanding its leading worldwide automotive supplier position for driveline and chassis technology. Upon government approval, ZF will acquire the Cherry Corp., headquartered in Pleasant Prairie, WI, with production locations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, and India (India is a joint venture with TVS Group). The electronics manufacturer develops and produces, among other things, switch systems, sensors, and control units for the automotive industry.

"With the new ZF Electronics, we are reinforcing our competence profile in the fields of mechatronics and electronics," underlined Hans-Georg Härter, ZF's CEO and President. "In particular for our future tasks in driveline and chassis technology, we can swiftly apply Cherry's know-how."

Cherry was founded in 1953 and develops as well as produces switches, sensors, control units, and electronics modules for the automotive industry, components for industrial and household applications, and computer input devices. Cherry's comprehensive know-how for electronics, software, mechatronics, and plastics technology is, for example, currently incorporated in mechatronics modules, sensor systems, operating switches, selector lever modules, and keyless entry electronics.

The company employs approximately 3100 worldwide, with half of the workforce located in Germany, with headquarters in Auerbach. For the rest of world, Cherry has approximately 900 employees in North America, 250 in Asia, and 400 in Eastern Europe. Total sales account for $400 million (€ 250 million), with 65% generated in Europe.

Peter Cherry, Chairman and President of Cherry said, "This transaction has great strategic value as it will allow Cherry to expand its current customer base, and ZF will bring substantial additional resources for future growth in all of Cherry's product segments. There are many opportunities for incorporating Cherry's technologies into the broad range of ZF applications."

The innovativeness and performance of the company were recognized with the award for the "Best Factory of the Year 2005," and, at the end of 2006, with the "Automotive Lean Award," as well as in 2008 with the "Bavarian Quality Award." Among the customers of the Cherry Corp. are, in addition to ZF, various system suppliers, such as Autoliv, Valeo, Lear, Kiekert, and Continental.

About ZF
ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a leading worldwide supplier of driveline and chassis technology. Headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany, ZF is among the 15 largest automotive suppliers in the world. The company employs approximately 58,000 at 119 locations in 25 countries, and totaled sales of $17.3 billion in 2007.

ZF operates an extensive manufacturing network in North America, combined with global research and development capabilities, to provide advanced technology to the NAFTA region. The ZF Group North American Operations headquarters and technical center is located in Northville, MI.


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