Webasto Group, a leading supplier to the automotive industry headquartered in Stockdorf, Germany, has divested its majority shareholding in a sino-foreign joint venture company to its former Chinese joint venture partner. The joint venture was active in the manufacturing of heating systems for the Chinese OEM market. While Webasto will continue to produce heating systems in China, the divestiture will help it focus on its other manufacturing sites in the country.
A team from GvW Graf von Westphalen at its Shanghai office advised the Webasto Group comprehensively on all legal and strategic aspects of the transaction including on the drafting and negotiation of the transaction documentation and the steering of the complex government filing and registration process. The transaction team was led by the managing partner of GvW’s Shanghai office, Patrick Heid, and included local partner Dr Dominic Köstner as well as associates Yingci Geng, Huanlei Yan and Kerui Li (all corporate/M&A, Shanghai). At Webasto, the inhouse legal team working on the transaction was led by Group General Counsel Dr Hendrik Höhfeld and Corporate Legal Counsel Suat Sahin, and also comprised Senior Legal Counsel Ray Li at Webasto China.
Webasto, a globally active group of companies with over 50 locations and numerous representations worldwide, has been active in China since 2001. Since then, the PRC has developed into its largest market with sales of about EUR 1.3 billion in 2018. Webasto currently has about 3,500 employees at ten locations in China. During her latest state visit to China in September 2019, Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel visited Webasto’s recently expanded plant in Wuhan, which currently is the Webasto Group’s largest production site worldwide.
GvW has been operating its own office in Shanghai since 2008, and its German and Chinese qualified attorneys regularly advise European and US companies on their M&A activities and business relationships in China. In addition, the firm’s China Practice provides comprehensive advice to Chinese companies on their investments and business development in the German and European markets.