The KION Group is entering into an exclusive global strategic partnership with leading Chinese manufacturer EP Equipment in the fast-growing market for entry-level, light-duty warehouse equipment.
On Thursday, the KION Group signed an agreement in Anji, China, to acquire a minority stake in EP Equipment. The cooperation will extend KION's product offering in the segment for entry-level, light-duty warehouse equipment both in China and around the world. The partnership will focus on joint product development and supply chain synergies and is expected to make both parties more competitive in terms of their product offerings. The transaction is subject to the usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the course of 2018.
"We are delighted to enter into this strategic partnership with EP Equipment. It will allow us to extend our product offering to a much wider range of customers," said KION Group CEO, Gordon Riske, at the signing of the agreement. "The cooperation will further strengthen our position in the booming warehouse equipment market."
"EP Equipment has been growing steadily in China and globally, especially in the entry-level warehouse segment, driven by its strong customer focus and its innovative and competitive product range," said Quek Ching Pong, member of the KION Group Executive Board and Chief Asia Pacific Officer. "By entering into this partnership with EP Equipment, KION will further strengthen its position as a leading provider of electric-powered material handling equipment."
"This is a historic moment for EP Equipment," said He Jinhui, Chairman of EP Equipment. "I am looking forward to our new partnership with the KION Group, which will allow us to leverage each other's strengths and capitalize on market opportunities in China and around the world."
He Jinhui founded EP Equipment in 1999. The company employs more than 1,000 people around the world and is particularly prominent in the Chinese and US markets. In 2017, EP Equipment shipped over 50,000 units, more than ever before.
The Chinese market is the largest and most important for industrial trucks and expanded by 40 percent in the first nine months of 2017. Warehouse trucks were a major factor in this growth, with entry-level, light-duty trucks playing a particularly important role within this segment. This is driven by the trend for greater mechanization and upgrading of equipment.