WABCO, a global provider of electronic braking, stability, suspension and transmission control systems for commercial vehicles as well as luxury cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), has made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol WBC.
WABCO, with revenues of approximately $2 billion in 2006, previously operated as the Vehicle Control Systems business of American Standard Companies. On February 1, 2007, American Standard announced plans to spin off the business and to complete the separation within six months. WABCO was originally part of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company founded in 1869 and was acquired by American Standard in 1968.
"WABCO's progress has been fueled by consistent strategies, innovative products and a relentless focus on customers," says Jacques Esculier, former president of the Vehicle Control Systems business and now CEO of WABCO Holdings, Inc. "I am proud that our evolution to date has positioned us for this new status as a public company. We are well-equipped to continue to strengthen our business by further improving the way we serve our clients, and focusing on expanding opportunities in the global commercial vehicle industry."
Fred Poses, chairman and CEO of American Standard Companies, adds, "WABCO now has the size, global reach and organizational talent to succeed on its own and is well-positioned to build on its industry leadership."
Since its invention of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) for commercial vehicles in cooperation with DaimlerChrysler in 1981, WABCO has successfully grown its revenues with advanced technologies focused on improving the performance, safety and efficiency of commercial vehicles. These include the first electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS) system, first commercial vehicle automated manual transmission controls system, first electronic stability control (ESC) system and the first integrated vehicle tire pressure monitoring (IVTM) system developed in partnership with Michelin.
In addition to focusing on continued growth in Western Europe and North America, the company is pursuing growth strategies in emerging markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe, as well as expanding its commercial vehicle aftermarket participation. These growth drivers have helped WABCO generate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue of 8 percent over the last five years (excluding foreign exchange impact).
With 12 manufacturing facilities in nine countries, WABCO is continually improving its operations environment through its WABCO Operating System (WOS). This includes implementing the "Lean" philosophy across the supply chain, adherence to Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) tools in product development, customer partnership initiatives and advanced management systems to ensure accountability across the organization.
"We are continually improving our performance and aligning our global operations to best serve our strong balance of customers in different markets and regions worldwide," says Esculier. "We will continue to deliver the innovative products and outstanding service that our commercial vehicle customers expect and look forward to bringing the WABCO brand of advanced technology and service to new markets."
The company also announced today that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 7 cents per share of common stock and authorized the company to undertake a $500 million repurchase program of the company's common stock through 2009. The dividend is payable on September 20, 2007, to shareholders of record on September 4, 2007.
The company plans to purchase shares at prevailing market prices either in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. Timing will vary depending on market conditions and other factors.
More information about the company and its holdings can be found on its Web site.