Ricardo Acquires the IFT Group

Jul 07, 2003, 01:00 ET from Ricardo Inc.

    VAN BUREN TWP., Mich., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Ricardo Inc. -- one of the
 world's foremost independent automotive engineering consulting companies --
 has acquired the IFT Group, an automotive engineering group based in the
 southern German automotive cluster cornered by Stuttgart, Munich and
     The IFT companies provide engine systems expertise -- particularly in the
 area of high performance and niche exhaust systems, prototyping, small series
 production and testing services covering vehicle, engines and related systems
 -- serving a strong established automotive customer base.
     The acquisition significantly increases Ricardo's presence in Europe's
 leading automotive market, providing the necessary infrastructure,
 complementary technology and critical mass to deliver full powertrain and
 vehicle integration programs from a local German base and team.  It also
 supports Ricardo's worldwide technology and capabilities in future exhaust
     The German market for automotive engineering consultancy is perhaps the
 most technically demanding in Europe, driven by the needs of major vehicle
 companies including DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW, Opel, Fiat-GM
 Powertrain and Ford of Europe.
     The acquisition provides a delivery base on the "doorstep" of the southern
 German premium automotive manufacturers and many of their key Tier 1 suppliers
 including Bosch.  In addition the northern Italian car industry is also
 readily accessible from this base.
     The IFT companies employ approximately 270 people, operating from its
 headquarters in Schwabisch Gmund, as well as from several customer sites and a
 small design office in Budapest.  With the addition of the existing Ricardo
 team already based in Germany, Ricardo will have approximately 20 percent of
 its staff operating within this strategic region following the acquisition.
     "The acquisition of IFT is in line with our strategy to significantly
 increase our presence and capability in Germany, the largest automotive market
 in Europe," said Rodney Westhead, Ricardo's chief executive.  "This is an
 important area of future growth for Ricardo and this acquisition significantly
 increases our ability to meet the requirements of our German customers and
 also brings a new complementary technology in exhaust systems.  This
 acquisition follows our recent developments in strategic consulting, including
 our recent acquisitions of Gemini and Tarragon, which together add to our
 growing international activities."
     With its North American headquarters in Van Buren Twp., Mich., Ricardo has
 been a world-leading vehicle system and powertrain technology provider for
 automotive manufacturers, heavy-duty manufacturers and tier one suppliers
 since 1917.
     The company provides expertise ranging from designing and developing
 engines, transmissions and drivelines, to integrating vehicle systems and
 creating software solutions, to developing gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel
 cell technology.
     Ricardo employs approximately 1,750 people worldwide -- 85 percent of whom
 are highly qualified multi-disciplined professional engineers and technicians
 -- at its technical centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and
 Czech Republic.  The company recently increased its North American presence by
 expanding its Detroit Technology Campus in Van Buren Twp.
     A public company based in the U.K., Ricardo plc posted sales of $220
 million in fiscal year 2002 and is a part of the FTSE techMark 100 index
 -- a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock

SOURCE Ricardo Inc.