• Knorr-Bremse acquires Westcode UK Ltd (Westcode) and strengthens its train system service business in the UK rail market;
• The acquisition, valued in the mid-single-digit million-euro range, represents an opportunity to grow Knorr-Bremse’s aftermarket business and further expand its service offerings;
• The acquisition is an ideal fit with the RailServices approach: to be a one-stop shop for rail operators over the entire train life cycle.
The deal unlocks promising opportunities as Knorr-Bremse looks to develop its already successful service business in the UK, supporting train technologies such as braking, climate control and entrance systems. The expansion will allow Knorr-Bremse’s UK business to service and maintain more train subsystems and so contribute to enhancing the availability of the region’s rail transportation.
Mario Beinert, Member of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems with responsibility for the division’s RailServices business and Knorr-Bremse’s activities in the UK, explains the reasoning: “RailServices is alongside the provision of new equipment for trains another major component of our business strategy and a long-term revenue generator that’s showing steady growth. As a reliable partner, we’re constantly seeking to expand the range of services we offer our customers in key areas such as maintenance and repair, for example so we can cover the entire train life cycle. In this respect, our acquisition of Westcode offers us great opportunities to expand our business and strengthen our local presence.”
Neil McNicholas, Unipart Rail Managing Director, said: “Westcode UK has provided customers with fantastic service in the four years they have been in the Unipart Group, and this sale to Knorr-Bremse will continue to strengthen their range of products and services. Thank you to everyone at Westcode UK for their great contribution.”
The Westcode acquisition (westcodeuk.com) brings with it a highly skilled workforce that will further boost Knorr-Bremse’s RailServices business. This will enable Knorr-Bremse to provide maintenance services for an even greater throughput of products, including air supply systems and the brake control units in train braking systems, as well as climate control and entrance systems. At the same time, RailServices will be able to service even more third-party components from other manufacturers. This flexible support is important for train operators, because it allows them to concentrate fully on their rail operations.
RailServices: Comprehensive life cycle management for rail vehicles
With its strong service portfolio and customer-centric approach, RailServices is enabling future-proof, high-performance rail vehicles worldwide. As a one-stop shop, Knorr-Bremse’s service unit supports attractive rail transportation by offering four main aftermarket advantages: high availability (e.g. through optimized maintenance and spare parts), improved ecological footprints of trains (e.g. by retrofitting eco-friendly technologies), optimized processes (e.g. in maintenance), and extended life cycles (e.g. through product upgrades).
In recent years, Knorr-Bremse has launched multiple initiatives to further expand the Group’s strong rail service business in Europe. Last year, Knorr-Bremse acquired DSB Component Workshops, Danish rail operator Danske Statsbaner’s former service unit for train systems and components. The acquisition is enabling Knorr-Bremse to further strengthen the Group’s presence in the Nordics and offer an even more extensive range of services to a steadily growing customer base. In view of the promising development of the aftermarket sector and the focus on innovative maintenance services for train fleets, the purchase of Westcode is another perfect fit with Knorr-Bremse’s ongoing acquisition strategy.