I have read some posted info about the famous automotive company BBS, but as I do have from my personal files the story issued by the company itself back in 1995, I think this more valid review should be available. Still I do not consider it complete, as it does not include the company’s effort in the ’80s to expand into the windsurfing sector in partnership with Jörg Rindlisbacher, but since this is a story belonging to the windsurfing section, you will find it there.
The last chapter of the BBS AG (in German)
BBS Files for Bankruptcy
BBS wheels are probably the most famous brand of its kind in the car world, appearing on everything from Volkswagens to F1 racers. But reports coming from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s FAZ.net website state that the manufacturer is reportedly filing for bankruptcy.
Apparently, the German wheel manufacturer filed for bankruptcy on December 30th 2o10, surprising even its employees and also corporate partner IG Metall, whose CEO told FAZ just before Christmas that he planned a multi-million dollar investment in the firm. The announcement was made by a court spokesman on Monday when Attorney Thomas Oberle was also appointed as a liquidator for the company.
The exact reasons for their decision was not announced, nor has the situation of the 436 employees working for BBS and IG Metall been clarified. This is not the first time that the company had financial troubles, since back in 2007 it also filed for bankruptcy and has been struggling ever since. What is sure is that the company had only announced last week it wanted to sell the production facilities at Herbolzheim, which employs about 150 workers, to the Swiss bike manufacturer Ronal AG. After the sale, BBS would reportedly withdraw from the mass market, which currently represents 65 percent of the company’s total sales.
The big question will be whether or not this means BBS is really gone. We can’t imagine a company as well-known and respected as BBS could just disappear. More likely, they will survive due to the name they have created for themselves, but they will need the support of a big financial backer. http://www.autoevolution.com
*UPDATE: An official from BBS reached out to Autoblog and gave us greater insight into this move. Here is what they wanted to share:
“In Germany, BBS has filed for restructuring (Similar to the US Chapter 11) and at the same time they have a LOI with Ronal to buy the BBS plant in Herbolzheim. (Herbolzheim is the production facility for standard OEM high volume production.)The intent of BBS is to re-focus on our core business in Schiltach; Motorsports, OES business (Ferrari, Porsche, etc… and including our US based programs with Ford, Toyota, etc.), High-end aftermarket and Technology development. (Schiltach is the BBS headquarters responsible for all engineering, development, high-end and specialty production, etc.)BBS began life as a “Racing wheel” company (in Schiltach) over 40 years ago, several years later they began producing aftermarket wheels and a few years later they were producing “Specialty” OE wheels (OES).BBS is just returning to its core business.” http://www.autoblog.com
Press release February 27 2012The insolvency administrator Thomas Oberle, headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany has sold the high-end OEM and Tuning/Aftermarket alloy wheel division of BBS International GmbH. BBS International GmbH is headquartered in Schiltach, Germany with a major plant in Herbolzheim, Germany and the North American distribution headquarters in Braselton, GA in the U.S. The purchaser is the Austrian industrial holding company Tyrol Equity AG, together with co-investor and industry expert Udo Wendland.The motorsport division was already sold and transferred January 1, 2012 to the Japanese Ono-Group. With this current transaction the plants of Schiltach and Herbolzheim are secured and the futures of the 340 current employees are preserved. This sale marks a significant step forward for the permanent preservation of all of the BBS business units. The transaction is subject to customary approval requirements that are expected to be completed by mid-March. The committee of creditors has already approved the sale.On December 30, 2010 BBS International GmbH had applied the petition for insolvency proceedings under German Law. On March 1, 2011 the insolvency court in Rottweil, Germany fully opened the insolvency proceedings. The operations of BBS International GmbH were continued by the insolvency administrator with the support of the principle OEM customers in the automotive industry during the insolvency proceedings. Business continued without interruption at both plants in Schiltach and Herbolzheim with a turnover of over €80 million while steps to a sustainable reform were initiated. This has led to the conditions for the successful transfer of the motorsport division as well as the alloy wheel division.
Tyrol Equity and the industry experienced enterpriser Udo Wendland have a very positive track record when they cooperated in the acquisition of SUSPA, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gas springs and the RSN Sihn Ltd., a German automotive supplier. Through the acquisition of the high-tech company BBS, the portfolio of the Austrian industrial holding company is perfectly supplemented and a successful expansion is expected. The remaining ten percent of the company will be held by the transaction initiator, Lafayette Capital Partners (LCP).
The purchaser’s business concept provides a gradual reduction from the high volume OEM business back to its initial core competence, i.e. the development and manufacture of high-tech alloy wheels for the high-end OEM and Tuning/Aftermarket. BBS is still recognized as a leader in the production of the highest quality alloy wheels and its name is recognized and respected the world over. In order to achieve long-term stabilization, further investment of 7 to 8 million Euros is planned to optimize production lines and processes so to better serve the Premium OEM clients. At the same time this investment will improve the platform to provide cutting edge product into the very challenging Tuning/Aftermarket channels. This was announced by the new owners of BBS, Dr. Stefan Hamm and Dr. Christoph Gerin-Swarovski along with Udo Wendland on Monday, February 27th. To support the reform process, Dr. Hamm of the owners group will be delegated to the management of the new BBS GmbH.
The company BBS was founded in 1970 by Heinrich Baumgartner and Klaus Brand, and has since grown internationally and made a name for itself as a leading developer and manufacturer of premium light-alloy wheels for original equipment on vehicles (OEM), motorsport and branded aftermarket. Customers from all over the world connect with BBS proven quality with trend-setting innovation and outstanding design. BBS maintains long-standing customer relationships with the most popular high-end premium car manufacturers including Porsche, Bentley, VW, Audi, Ferrari, BMW, Ford, Toyota, etc. For more than 40 years the brand BBS stands for high quality premium alloy wheels and is associated worldwide with motorsport and many successes in all major racing series in particular Formula 1.About Tyrol Equity (www.tyrolequity.com):
Tyrol Equity is an Austrian industrial holding company based in Innsbruck. The company invests in medium-sized manufacturing companies with turnovers of between 10 and 150 million €. The focus is on future promising companies in attractive markets. Tyrol Equity provides long-term enterprise capital for business succession/solutions, growth financing and corporate divestitures. Presently, approximately 2,500 people work in the group worldwide. Currently, its companies produce gas springs, steaming equipment and fluid connectors for the automotive and electric industries.About Wellensiek Rechtsanwälte und Herrn Rechtsanwalt Thomas Oberle (www.wellensiek.de):
Lawyer Thomas Oberle is a partner of the Wellensiek Attorneys Partnership specializing in insolvency administration and corporate recovery management and is now working for nearly 30 years in various insolvency proceedings.Heidelberg, 27.02.2012Oberle
as insolvency administrator
Press release Schiltach/Essen 30.11.2012:
BBS steps on the gas again in 2013Investments in production expand the wheel collection.Making the product range winterproof from the 2013/2014 winter seasonBBS GmbH has been under the ownership of the Austrian holding company Tyrol Equity AG and Udo Wendland since April 2012. Following in-depth market analysis and an intensive adjustment period, the new owners are now defining the future corporate strategy. A seven million euro investment programme enables the cost-effective restructuring of production facilities in Schiltach and Herbolzheim as well as an expansion to the range and a premium winter programme. Thanks to a redefined partnership with BBS-Washi Wheels GmbH, customers can choose from a worldwide unique range of cast and forged wheels. Both companies are presenting their extensive range at the Essen Motor Show (Hall 2, Booth Number 113).Seven million euro investments
The new strategy provides for a withdrawal from the mass business. The wheel producer from Schiltach will concentrate on the development and production of highly technical alloy wheels for high-end OEMs as well as the tuning and aftermarket in future. The new owners are investing roughly seven million euro in this. “Both the Schiltach and Herbolzheim locations are being reorganised, with improved production lines and production processes. BBS is starting its independent, successful future with its former strength”, says Managing Director Dr. Stefan Hamm.New lightweights for heavyweights
BBS is starting its 43rd year of existence with numerous product innovations. Existing designs are being extended by additional vehicle types in the first-half year of 2013 to consolidate design widths. The legendary CH-R wheel will also be supplied in 20 inch for the Porsche 911 in 2013. The Porsche Panamera and premium SUVs (Cayenne, X5/X6, Q7 etc.) can look forward to the CH-R wheel in 21 inch.
With the SV wheel for SUVs, BBS is offering a smart wheel construction for large vehicle weights and heavy loads. Besides the existing SUV applications, there will also be new applications for cars in 20 inch. The SV wheel is now also available in 19 inch for Audi, BMW, VW and Mercedes cars.BBS will be “winterproof” from 2013
In a representative market survey in the spring of 2012, both retailers and end consumers show great emotional and technical faith in BBS. With the product policy, there was an obvious demand for winter wheels. BBS is fulfilling this request from the 2013/2014 winter season by offering a broad and extensive all-year round range.BBS wants to boast a broad national and international market presence in future. Mr Erwin Eigel, a sales professional for the aftermarket for 20 years, has taken over management of the Germany, Austria, Switzerland sales region since the start of November. The previous overall aftermarket manager, Mr Norden will be responsible for the international BBS markets in future. “Appearances, for example at Tuning World Lake Constance and the GTI meet in Velden additionally strengthen our market and brand presence”, emphasises Dr. Hamm.Made in Germany – a guarantee for top quality and innovation
BBS was founded by Heinrich Baumgartner and Klaus Brand in 1970 and has made an international name for itself since then as one of the leading developers and producers for premium alloy wheels for OEMs, motorsports and the branded aftermarket. Customers from all over the world associate BBS with proven premium quality, ground-breaking innovation and superb design.The company has fostered customer relationships with famous high-end premium car manufacturers, including Porsche, Bentley, VW, Audi, Ferrari, BMW etc. for many years. The BBS brand has stood for top quality premium alloy wheels for over 40 years and all over the world it is associated with motorsports and countless successes in all the important racing series, in particular Formula 1.About Tyrol Equity (www.tyrolequity.com)
Tyrol Equity is an Austrian holding company based in Innsbruck. The company invests in small and medium-sized production businesses with a turnover between ten and 150 million euro. The focus is on enterprises with a promising future in attractive markets as well as restructuring cases, if they clearly have a sound core business. Tyrol Equity offers long-term enterprise capital for succession solutions, expansion funding and corporate de-mergers. Roughly 1,000 people work for the corporate group worldwide.
June 2015 UPDATE
KOREAN NICE Holdings Co. , becomes new majority shareholder
- NICE’s first overseas transaction is the next consequent step to further grow the group’s manufacturing activities and strenghten its metallurgic expertise
- Tyrol Equity retains a minority stake and will support NICE to further implement BBS’ growth strategy
Schiltach (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), 2nd June 2015 – An investor consortium led by Tyrol Equity AG, an Austria-based industrial holding (“Tyrol Equity”) has signed an agreement to sell a majority stake in BBS GmbH, a German manufacturer of high- performance alloy wheels, to NICE Holdings (“NICE”), a Korean industrial group listed on the Korean stock exchange. Tyrol Equity will stay invested and support its new partner NICE to realize BBS’ strategic growth path. The transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed within the next months. The parties have agreed not to disclose the transaction value.
BBS is a leading manufacturer of cast high-performance light alloy wheels for premium automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEM), high-end tuning companies as well as the independent aftermarket (IAM). Since its foundation back in the 1970s, BBS covers the entire value-added chain from melting to casting, flow-forming, machining and surface finishing. BBS’ products are 100% designed, manufactured and tested in Germany. In 2014, BBS generated sales of ca. EUR 70 million and maintained a workforce of approx. 430 employees.
About Tyrol Equity:
Tyrol Equity is a leading Austrian industrial holding. Its initiators and shareholders are successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial families as well as a leading financial institution. Tyrol Equity invests in medium-sized production companies with a turnover of up to EUR 150 million and particularly focusses on the industrial and automotive sector in Austria and Germany.
NICE Group is a listed financial infrastructure service provider and manufacturing company based in Korea and consists of three business divisions including financial information business, financial infrastructure business and manufacturing business. In its manufacturing business division, a light-metal business has been selected and fostered as the core business item since the year 2010. In this context, NICE Group has continuously sought for optimal market opportunities where strong customer needs for light-metal materials in manufacturing various parts of automobiles, aircrafts and others with a purpose of utilizing energy efficiency while coping with related regulations.