Investor AB Acquires BraunAbility

Investor AB has purchased adaptive automotive manufacturer BraunAbility, according to an announcement on the BraunAbility.com Web site.

A newly created Investor AB division called Patricia Industries signed the agreement to purchase BraunAbility, the Sept. 23 news announcement said.

BraunAbility, which manufactures wheelchair-accessible side-entry and rear-entry vehicles as well as wheelchair lifts for vehicles, was founded by Ralph Braun in 1972. In his 2010 autobiography Rise Above, Braun talked about being diagnosed in 1947 with muscular dystrophy when he was 6, and how the doctor predicted that Braun would not live past his teens.

But Braun was in his teens when he built his first power wheelchair. In following years, Braun built more power chairs as well as vehicle lifts that transported the chairs into vans.

Braun died in 2013, but not before seeing his company, Braun Corp., become one of the best known in the adaptive automotive industry. The company adopted the BraunAbility name in 2008.

Investor AB’s announcement said BraunAbility’s management team will remain in place. BraunAbility’s 2014 sales were $415 million, according to the Investor AB news release.

“With the support of Patricia Industries, we will be positioned to accelerate our rate of growth, powered by product innovation, development of our brand promise within the communities we serve, and continued expansion into global markets,” said BraunAbility CEO/President Nick Gutwein. “Together, we will advance our mission to provide products and services that improve life with the most trusted lineup of transportation mobility solutions in the world. This is a tremendous opportunity to extend for decades the legacy that our founder Ralph Braun built.”

Investor AB also owns Permobil, which it purchased in 2013.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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