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Another big year for materials handling 1

12 Jan 2017 -
There was plenty of activity in the materials handling market in 2016 – and the market growth looks like continuing in 2017. Allan Leibowitz looks at the A to Z of the past year. 

Acquisition activity was dominated by the protracted Konecranes/Terex merger, which kicked off in late 2014, but was delayed in January when Terex received a rival cash bid from China's Zoomlion Heavy Industries Science & Technology Co. Then, in May, that deal was finally scuttled when Konecranes agreed to buy Terex Corp's crane business for EUR1.1 billion (USD1.3 billion). This deal is still to finalise. Meanwhile, Konecranes has signed an agreement with Columbus McKinnon Corporation for the sale of the STAHL CraneSystems business. Konecranes will receive cash proceeds of EUR224-230 million (USD240-247 million) from the transaction, depending on the 2016 result of STAHL CraneSystems. In February, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling announced it would buy Penta Holding S.p.A., the majority shareholder of Bolzoni S.p.A. The two entities entered into an agreement for Hyster-Yale to buy 100% of Penta's outstanding shares for EUR53,495,837 (USD 59.66 million). Hyster-Yale Group in April acquired Speedshield Technology’s telematics installation and distribution businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom. The acquisition provides Hyster-Yale with the exclusive distribution rights of these businesses’ products in all areas outside of Australia. In June, the Palfinger Group agreed to buy 100% of the shares in Herkules Harding Holding AS and, thus, the globally operating Harding Group. The seller is the Norwegian private equity fund Herkules. It was another busy year for Belgium’s TVH Group which continued its acquisition spree in July, buying the shares of French company GDI Group, a European leader in the supply of replacement glass and accessories for agricultural tractors and industrial plant cabs. The purchase came hot on the heels of TVH’s acquisition of the shares of Industrial Access S.A. Before that, TVH had purchased the assets of the Danish forklift manufacturer DanTruck ApS. As a result, TVH became the exclusive distributor of parts for DanTruck and Heden lift trucks. In October, Manitex International sold its Liftking rough-terrain forklift subsidiary to the LANCO Group of Companies, parent of Mi-Jack Products, for USD14 million. Illinois-based Mi-Jack produces rubber tyres and rail-mounted gantry and industrial cranes and sees the acquisition as a good fit with its goals and reputation. In November, NEIP III SpA, an investment company run by Finint & Partners, and Group Battioni Pagani subsidiary BP Handling Technologies Srl signed an agreement to acquire 100% of CVS Ferrari Srl Manitex International Inc., a company listed on Nasdaq. 

The UK voted to leave the European Union Image: British Irish Trade Association
Brexit came as a shock to the materials handling sector in June, when 51.9% of UK citizens voted to leave the European Union. "There’s no doubt that there will be significant changes ahead which will affect all of us in the UK – for better or worse," Peter Harvey, chief executive of the FLTA, told Forkliftaction News. James Clark, secretary-general of BITA, noted:  "Our sector has weathered various storms in the past such as the lengthy global financial crisis and other economic threats and emerged all the stronger for it and we are confident that the industry can adapt to the evolving political climate and continue to be successful."