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A Belgium-based company specializing in commercial vehicle technologies will hand over a nine-figure sum to acquire Hanover’s R.H. Sheppard Co.

WABCO Holdings signed an agreement Thursday, Aug. 24, to purchase the 80-year-old manufacturer of power steering gears and columns for heavy-duty commercial vehicles for $145 million, according to a news release.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be finalized by the end of September.

WABCO Chairman and CEO Jacques Esculier said in the release that the company’s acquisition of R.H. Sheppard will move it closer to creating the first autonomous commercial vehicles.

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“This acquisition represents another key milestone as WABCO advances toward enabling self-driving commercial vehicles. We have a clear line of sight on the fundamental technologies … which will enable significant intermediary steps on our industry’s path to realize fully autonomous driving,” Esculier said.

Founded in 1937 by Richard Harper Sheppard, the Hanover-based manufacturer has grown from a small-town diesel engine maker to a worldwide leader in power steering technologies, according to the R.H. Sheppard website.

Over the past decade, R.H. Sheppard has partnered with various Chinese manufacturers to sell its products globally.

“We’re excited at the prospect of joining WABCO,” R.H. Sheppard President and CEO Oliver Hoar said in the release. “Our leading technologies will be fully integrated into the strategy of this industry leader on a journey to create opportunities for further growth in North America and globally.”

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