LG Boosts Automotive Clout, Acquires Premium Lighting Company
LG Electronics, Co., Ltd. has approved the acquisition of ZKW Group, a leading automotive lighting and headlight systems provider, for a deal worth more than €1.1 billion, which the company claims its largest acquisition to date. The deal is equivalent to 70 percent stake in ZKW Group while parent company LG Corp. purchased the remaining 30 percent.
LG's acquisition will enable the combined companies to lead the global lighting sector in autonomous vehicle components. Headquartered in the lower Austrian town of Wieselburg, ZKW Group is a high-tech leader in automotive lighting systems with presence in markets throughout Europe in addition to China, Mexico, and the United States.
LG's acquistion of ZKW Group is the company's largest deal entered in its 60-year history.
With revenues of €1.26 billion in 2017 and an average annual sales growth rate of more than 20 percent over the past five years, ZKW products are found in many major European premium automotive brands including Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Daimler, among others. ZKW's offerings will complement LG's growing vehicle components operations and will enable the premium automotive lighting segment to expand faster than traditional auto lighting.
ZKW's lighting business, which has focused on premium vehicle components and related accessories, will have a much greater market presence through LG's extensive global sales network. As the industry transitions from traditional halogens to LEDs and lasers, ZKW sees itself in the enviable position of being among the first companies that produces matrix LED headlamps and laser headlights.
LG and ZKW will focus on developing intelligent lighting solutions that display high-resolution information and warnings on roads collected from sensors, including autonomous driving cameras and automotive communications. ZKW Group will continue to be managed by the present team led by its Chief Executive Officer Oliver Schubert, who will be responsible for all its global operations of over 9,000 employees. LG is committed to maintaining ZKW's autonomy and workplace culture. In particular, production in Austria will remain unchanged for at least five years.
"Through this deal, LG is adding a new growth opportunity to its automotive components business, a future growth opportunity with tremendous potential," said Jo Seong-jin, Chief Executive Officer of LG Electronics. "In addition to strengthening ZKW's product development capabilities, LG's global production experience and international business network will present unlimited opportunities for both companies in the auto market of tomorrow, which includes intelligent lighting solutions."