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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #285 - 09 November 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Jungheinrich: 2006 market will grow to 800,000 units.”
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Linde’s forklifts sold, IPO on horizon
Linde AG has sold its forklift business to a consortium of financial investors, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, for EUR4 billion (USD5.082 billion).
The price consists of EUR3.6 billion (USD4.574 billion) in net equity value and EUR400 million (USD508.2 million) of net financial debt. The sale agreement was signed last Sunday and is pending approval by competition authorities.
A Linde statement said the consortium would honour all agreements “on safeguarding locations” made by the Linde executive board and employee representatives in the northern hemisphere summer of 2005 (Forkliftaction.com News #220).
KKR head of European operations Johannes Huth and Goldman Sachs head of central & eastern Europe Alexander Dibelius said in a joint statement that Linde’s forklift business, Kion Group, had excellent prospects and praised the group’s employees.
“In the medium term, our objective is an initial public offering,” they said.
Kion management board chairman Hubertus Krossa said he was delighted the group had found “strong partners” that supported Kion’s industrial concept.
KKR was established in New York in 1976. It has completed more than 140 acquisitions valued at USD215 billion. The transactions, as of June 30, 2006, have created USD68 billion in value on USD26 billion in capital investment.
Since 1986, Goldman Sachs has invested more than USD17 billion of equity in more than 500 companies globally.
Private equity companies like KKR and Goldman Sachs account for a significant proportion of global M&A activity. Their modus operandi is buying underperforming companies, managing them for growth, revitalising the business through cost-cutting and acquisitions, and eventually selling or floating the business.
KKR is credited by Harvard Business School as a pioneer in leveraged buyout (LBO) transactions after acquiring Orkin Exterminating Company in 1964. An LBO is the acquisition of another company financed through debt that often will be moved down to the balance sheet of the acquired company. Assets of the company, in addition to assets of the acquiring company, are often used as collateral for the loans.
Dow Jones International News reported that KKR-Goldman’s winning bid was “slightly ahead” of other bidders, Permira-Allianz Capital, CVC Capital, and BC Partners and Apax Partners.
The report said two unique limitations to the tender required the debt portion of the offer to not breach EUR2.6 billion (USD3.321 billion), as stipulated by a financing package deal offered by Linde’s financial adviser Credit Suisse. Bidders had to agree not to release any equity from the business for a set period.
Goldman Sachs spokesperson Alexander Geiser told Dow Jones the company’s growth strategy for Kion included injecting fresh capital should takeover possibilities arise.
“2010 to 2012 is a realistic timeframe [for an IPO] for Kion,” he said.
Kion Group is the Linde Group’s new holding company for its three forklift brands, Linde, Still and OM. Combined, the forklift businesses employ more than 20,000 people. In fiscal 2005, Kion achieved sales of EUR3.6 billion (USD4.574 billion) (Forkliftaction.com News #276). The Linde Group had been trying to sell its forklift unit since buying BOC Group plc (Forkliftaction.com News #259).
Jungheinrich predicts 800,000 units globally for 2006
Asia and Europe contributed double-digit increases to the world materials handling equipment market’s growth of 14 per cent for the first nine months of 2006, Jungheinrich AG says.
The Hamburg-headquartered forklift manufacturer said in a statement on the group’s third quarter result that the market grew from 554,300 units to 632,200 units. Forklift demand in Europe increased 15 per cent from 225,300 units to 259,100 units.
Growth in eastern Europe of 47 per cent “strongly benefited from developments in Russia … outstripping the momentum displayed in western Europe (10 per cent)”.
Asia posted an 18 per cent growth, with China’s increase in demand of 35 per cent being the main driver.
The North American market grew 9 per cent.
Jungheinrich forecast the world market would swell to more than 800,000 by the end of 2006.
Toyota launches gold edition ahead of 8-series
Toyota Industrial Equipment Europe (TIEE) says its 7-series internal combustion forklift is its most popular series, having sold 250,000 units worldwide.
The manufacturer has introduced a “gold edition” version of the series, featuring a new paint scheme to commemorate Toyota’s 50th anniversary, ahead of the 8-series launch.
Available through Toyota’s 20 distributors in 27 European countries, the gold edition has no new features but, like all 7-series forklifts in Europe, features Toyota’s system of active stability and operator total care package.
TIEE public relations executive Jeffrey Schenck said the 8-series’s European launch was expected in 2007 but no date had been announced. The 8-series forklift, which is the new, enhanced version of the 7-series, has been released in Japan, the US and Australia.
Asked why the 7-series was selected for the gold edition, Schenck said: “Toyota’s IC range is very popular in Europe. During our 50th anniversary, we wanted to provide customers with a great opportunity to obtain special value packages on this truck.
“Based on customer needs, we have put together for each [European] country a combination of option packages to provide customers across Europe with the best possible deal on this best-selling truck.”
A Toyota competitor in Europe said the gold edition forklift was a “good marketing tool”.
“It is not extraordinary to produce forklifts for 50 years since most of our European competitors have been doing so for a much longer time,” he said.
“Some of the pioneers unfortunately have disappeared, like the original Clark, Towmotor, Steinbock, Conveyancer, and Lansing, among others, but what Toyota has achieved is quite impressive and a good example to follow.”
However, he was surprised TIEE chose the 7-series for the gold edition forklift.
“Toyota claims [the 7-series is] the most popular but most insiders know the best series for Toyota was the 6-series. This is what I know from Toyota distributors and customers.
“I think the 7-series [gold edition] is just a marketing tool because it is still the current model until the launch of the 8-series,” he said.
An industry member in Japan speculated TIEE “had to launch something” for the European market because European production of the 8-series had not started.
Toyota Materials Handling USA Inc national marketing manager Melinda Beckett-Maines told Forkliftaction.com News the 7-series was Toyota’s best-selling series in the US.
Kion Group, the holding company for the Linde, OM and Still brands, acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners last Sunday, has said it planned to unseat Toyota as the world’s leading materials handling equipment manufacturer by 2011 (Forkliftaction.com News #276).
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Toyota launches 8-series in Australia
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
By Daphne Haneman
Toyota’s 8-series of one tonne to 3.5-tonne internal combustion, pneumatic-tyre forklifts was officially released in Australia last week.
Sydney-based Toyota Industries Corporation Australia Pty Ltd (TICA) launched the 8-series on November 1 and said it would soon be rolled out across Australia through Toyota dealerships and specified markets.
The 8-series was manufactured by Toyota Material Handling Company in Toyota’s Takahama plant, Japan, where it was released locally in early September.
It replaces the Toyota pneumatic-tyre 7-series.
A TICA statement said “420 quality improvements” had been made since the same capacity 7-series.
“The 8-series has a smaller steering wheel, lower step height, increased seat fore/aft travel, increased head clearance, increased ease of entry and exit, reduced noise levels at operators’ ears and reduced vibration,” it said.
Toyota has increased operators’ range of visibility and redesigned the instrument panel, steering wheel, mast, load backrest beam, mast tilt beam and cabin roof.
The statement said the range would include 23 pneumatic-tyre internal combustion models from one tonne to 3.5 tonne payloads, including petrol/LPG and diesel models with a choice of manual and power-shift transmission and compact models.
TICA product & brand manager Bob Walmsley said the 8-series design and development team interviewed 4,500 7-series global customers for feedback.
“Teams of engineers came to Australia on several occasions to meet customers, operators and dealers,” he said.
The TICA statement said the 8-series was the result of eight years “intense” customer research and a “multi-million dollar” investment in research & development.
Mecano moves to larger HQ
Spanish rough-terrain forklift specialist Mecano Continental SA has moved to larger headquarters in Murcia, Spain.
The 29,000 square foot (1,858 square metre) factory is next to the Mast Explorer brand manufacturer’s old factory in the Base 2000 Industrial Park, next to the A30 Highway and 40 minutes’ drive from Alicante Airport.
Mecano’s 68 employees have moved to the new premises, where design and manufacturing of Mecano’s Mast Explorer rough-terrain forklift will now take place. The move was planned to keep pace with increasing demand, Mecano said in a statement.
The new building has a showroom, and meeting rooms for training dealers and technicians. Dealers and technicians worldwide would meet at the new headquarters. Mecano has dealers in more than 40 countries.
CEO Francisco Tomás Sánchez said sales in 2006 had increased about 50 per cent from last year. “After the first quarter, the increase was 56 per cent.” Tomás Sánchez said the factory’s automated production line had a capacity of 3,000 forklifts a year.
“The warehouse can stock up to 200 units.” Mecano also manufactures electric and internal combustion counterbalanced forklifts for sale in five continents.
Employee-friendly Raymond grabs two New York awards
GREENE, NY, United States
Raymond Corp, of Greene, New York, has won two Central New York Employer of Choice awards for best practices in human resource policies.
Ryamond’s human resources vice president Steve VanNostrand said the company was delighted, as a first-time entrant, to receive the awards.
“We recognise that employees who enjoy a [work-life] balance are happier, healthier and more productive – a win-win situation for everyone.”
The first award was for Raymond’s “best practices in occupational health/safety/security”. The award recognised the company’s safety program, which included providing online access to company policies and procedures and return-to-work options for employees with occupational and non-occupational illnesses and injuries.
The second award, the Donlon Award, granted when judges are impressed by a specific company behaviour or program, was given to Raymond for best practices in family workplace policies based on its “exemplary corporate citizenship”.
Raymond claims it has maintained its small-town, family-owned origins despite being part of a large, multinational group, Toyota Industries Corp.
“The organisation has made a significant financial donation to support construction of a new fire station in the village of Greene,” a Raymond statement said.
The company, its dealers and employees donated USD100,000 to Raymond employees affected by flooding in the Southern Tier.
The Southern Tier is the counties of New York State, west of the Catskill Mountains, along the northern border of Pennsylvania. It does not cover counties in the far west of the state.
The Manufacturers’ Association of Central New York sponsored the CNY Employer of Choice awards. Raymond was one of 15 companies nominated to receive the best practice and Donlon awards.
Rocla’s newest reach truck wins gold at Russian show
The Rocla Humanic reach truck was selected as best product at the Sklad Transport Logistika 2006 exhibition in Moscow last month.
Rocla Oyj introduced the reach truck in the northern hemisphere spring of 2006 (Forkliftaction.com News #267). It also received an honourable mention in the Fennia Prize design competition.
Sklad Transport Logistika is an international exhibition of logistics, automation and mechanisation of storage, transport and materials handling. The 13th show had exhibitors from 20 countries.
Ingersoll Rand celebrates 100 years on NYSE
Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd celebrated 100 years of listing and trading its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange last week.
Ingersoll Rand is a global company with 40,000 employees and revenues approaching USD11 billion. It owns the brands Bobcat, Club Car, Hussmann, Ingersoll Rand, Schlage and Thermo King.
According to Off-Highway Research, a UK-based research company for the construction and agricultural equipment markets, the world’s first telehandler brand, Sambron, is now sold under the Bobcat brand.
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Symbol’s new RF switch may enhance forklift use
CHICAGO, IL, United States
Symbol Technologies Inc has introduced its first radio frequency (RF) wireless switch for connecting mobile computing devices and readers.
Symbol said in a statement it intends to bridge a gap among competing wireless technologies. The launch occurred during Mobile Business Expo 2006, in Chicago.
As a key component of wireless next-generation mobility architecture, the RFS7000 RF switch targets forklift users in tough environments in manufacturing, warehouses, supply fulfillment, hospitals and educational and government institutions.
The device aims to consolidate current and emerging technologies, such as RF identification (RFID), the Wi-Fi brand, worldwide interoperability for microwave access, voice-over-wireless local-area network (LAN) uses, mesh networking and the 802.11n family of specifications for wireless LAN technology. 802.11n is among mobile communications industry standards from the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers Inc, in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Symbol worked with Crown Equipment Corp, of New Bremen, Ohio; Raymond Corp, of Greene, New York; and Cascade Corp, of Portland, Oregon; to test the technology and conduct pilot runs.
Symbol, based in Holtsville, New York, plans to make the RFS7000 initially available during 2007’s first quarter.
United Business Media plc subsidiary CMP Technology organised Mobile Business Expo, from October 31 to November 3.
On September 19, Symbol and mobility communications giant Motorola Inc, of Schaumburg, Illinois, said in a statement that the two companies had signed a definitive merger agreement under which Motorola agreed to acquire all Symbol’s outstanding shares, valued on that date at USD3.9 billion. The transaction is expected to close in late 2006 or early 2007.
Movers & Shakers
TIEL, The Netherlands
Ger Bloem has been appointed managing director of Van Hooff Heftrucks and Hubtex Netherlands. He will focus on improving quality in the service department. Bloem previously managed the service departments of Geveke Zwaar Materieel and Stork. Former managing director Jan Jaap Wiersma has been appointed commercial director.
BROOKFIELD, WI, United States
Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp has promoted Jim Gerlach to assistant sales manager in south-east Wisconsin. Gerlach has more than 20 years’ experience in materials handling. For the past three years, he was a Wisconsin Lift Truck sales representative.
Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, has appointed David E Ritchie as chairman emeritus of the company, effective from November 30. Ritchie, a founder of Ritchie Bros, will step down as chairman of the board and a director. Ritchie Bros is the world's leading industrial equipment auctioneer.
Mark Craig has been appointed spare parts manager for Manitou Australia’s warehouse in Alexandria, Sydney. Craig has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry, having worked for Marubeni Corporation, Dynapac Australia Pty Ltd and JLG Industries. He began his career in the service industry as a plant mechanic, before moving into spare parts.
Forklift helps clear pigs’ heads on German road
Motorists on a German highway were shocked when a truck spilt two tons of pigs’ heads onto the road on the night before Halloween.
The incident happened after the truck turned off a highway in Herne, in the Ruhr region, police told the Associated Press.
Police said the door of the truck’s trailer opened and the pigs’ heads spilled out as the driver turned away from a traffic light.
The fire service used a forklift to load the heads back onto the trailer.
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Crown launches turret truck and fork tip indicators
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
Crown Equipment Corporation’s award-winning TSP 6000 turret truck has been released in Australia and fork tip indicators are now available in Australia as a standard feature on Crown forklifts.
This year, Crown won a silver industrial design excellence award for its TSP 6000 turret truck, which was released in Europe and the US in August 2005.
The TSP 6000 was released in Australia this year.
Crown Australia’s general manager marketing Craig Kenchington said US demand for the turret truck had been “enormous” and the US production facility took time to “catch up with supply”. He said Crown Australia decided to release the forklift after stock levels were replenished.
A US Crown statement said the TSP 6000 turret truck had “many safety and control features to enable the operator to feel secure and confident” as working at heights could be “unsettling”.
It said a mono-mast gave the forklift “superior stability” and operators could avoid twisting and swaying at height. The turret truck allowed for full pallet put-away and order picking.
In June this year, Crown released fork tip indicators, which are now a standard feature on new Crown forklifts in the US and Australia.
The indicators are diagonal orange bars recessed at the end of each fork on the top and bottom (top only on stock-pickers). All new Crown pallet trucks have a single, recessed orange triangle at the tapered end of the fork.
The Crown statement said the recessed design required only “occasional paint touch-ups” instead of re-paints, as in fully painted surfaces that “typically wore off after a short period”.
Crown director of marketing & product management Matt Logan said indicators improved visibility and operator productivity.
“Some operators slow down and creep the forks to position them properly, sacrificing throughput. Others use trial and error, which can result in damage to product, pallets or racks,” he said.
“Operators positioning loads can easily see the fork tips at a glance while entering or exiting a pallet. With better visibility, operators can work faster with more confidence and efficiency.”
Revamped forklift monitoring system released
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
An Australian-made forklift data capture system, Fleet Assist, has been upgraded and re-released in Australia.
Sydney-based Fleet Assist (Australia) Pty Ltd re-designed the system, which is a keypad fitted to a forklift dashboard and a control and analysis, PC-based software package that produces management reports.
The unit assists warehouse forklift fleet managers to monitor forklift movements. It records forklift incidents and logs hours, idle time, total lifting time, traction and driver details.
Fleet Assist sales manager Robert Lore said the new unit was “quicker and easier to fit”, taking about 2.5 hours to install. The new design had significant diagnostic improvements that “kept it simple to use”.
Lore said the unit made drivers “more careful, diligent and accountable” and end-users had reported significant and enduring decreases in forklift incidents and warehouse damage.
The unit was suitable for forklifts, sweepers and wheel loaders and for warehouses using 10 to 120-plus licensed forklift operators and casual staff. Lore said the system was particularly useful for monitoring operators on night shifts and weekends.
A Fleet Assist statement said more than 1,400 units had been sold in Australia to major forklift businesses and companies including Portland Aluminium, Kellogg’s, P&O Cold Logistics, and Mitsubishi Motors.
Lore said he was looking for overseas distributors.
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HSE route map contributes to safety
ALTON, United Kingdom
The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) has welcomed the UK Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) route map for workplace transport risk management as a major contributor to improving safety.
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