At the end of the 1990s, Happich was an innovative provider of components for cab fittings in commercial vehicles. With a broad product range of some 10,000 articles, the company – at this point a subsidiary of the Johnson Controls Group – was supplying bus and truck manufacturers such as Daimler-Chrysler, MAN and Neoplan.
When Johnson Controls Group spun off Happich to focus its automotive business on passenger vehicles, Halder acquired 85% of the shares through an MBO in 1999. Main objectives: Active participation in the consolidation of the fragmented supplier market and development of new sales opportunities in the transportation industry.
Consolidation of the commercial vehicles industry increased the purchasing power of key clients and resulted in an upheaval of market structures. To adapt its position to the new economic framework and create a supplier with sufficient critical mass, Happich merged with Italian coach outfitters Ellamp in 2002 to form Gruppo Happich Ellamp (GHE) based in Milan. At this point, Halder made a partial exit, retaining a 30% stake in the company and two seats on the supervisory board. In a favourable economic climate and with integration progressing, GHE showed a positive development and Halder sold the remaining shares to a financial investor in 2008.