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This is issue #291 - 21 December 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“EU Commission says yes to Kion sale”
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JCB Americas assumes some headquarter functions
POOLER, GA, United States
By Roger Renstrom
Telehandler manufacturer JC Bamford Excavators Ltd (JCB) is launching a mission for its unit in the Americas to unify business tasks and absorb more work.
The company also is changing the unit’s leadership team.
From January 1, JCB chief executive John Patterson adds a new title, as chairman of the subsidiary JCB Inc, and Graeme Macdonald becomes president of JCB Inc, which employs 360 people.
JCB intends the senior management appointments as a signal to its dealers in all the Americas that JCB is committed to the western hemisphere market.
The Rocester, UK-based parent firm has assigned Patterson to spend more than half his time developing the group’s expansion strategy in the Americas and Asia. It will involve efforts in Pooler, Georgia, in the Savannah area, at JCB Inc, which is adopting JCB Americas as its trade name.
Patterson has gained geographic flexibility through the appointment of Matthew Taylor as JCB’s chief operating officer. Taylor has responsibility for day-to-day operations worldwide, except the Americas, and continues as managing director for sales.
Macdonald will assume responsibility for and pursue a functional merger of all JCB Americas operations. Macdonald will succeed Helmet Peters, who is retiring after six years as JCB Americas president.
“The North American market is still the biggest in the world for our industry,” said Paul Keogh, JCB Americas vice president of marketing.
On a gradual basis, over two years, JCB Americas will assume support and control functions for the hemisphere’s market from JCB headquarters in Rocester.
JCB entered the North American market in the early 1960s, selling UK-made hydraulic tractors and backhoe loaders. In October 1998, JCB broke ground for a USD62 million state-of-the-art 500,000-square-foot (45,000-square-metre) manufacturing facility on 1,064 acres in Georgia. Initial production occurred in January 2000.
In October for the Americas market, JCB began manufacturing three construction-industry models of variable reach rough-terrain forklifts, Loadall 506C, 506C HL and 508C telescopic handlers, in Georgia in a production transfer from the Rocester plant. The Georgia plant also produces backhoe loaders and robot skid steer loaders.
The Georgia operation employs about 300 people and, in reorganising its space, constructed a separate 75,000-square-foot (6750-square-metre) warehouse on the site. Operations in Central America and South America employ 60 persons.
JCB Americas needed the plant space to gear up different production lines, including one for a US Army high-mobility engineered excavator program, which includes a telescopic handler model. “We expect in the new year to go into production on those,” Keogh said. “We are now through the final prototype stages and have eight machines out in combat environments.” Production is projected over five years. The program is worth about USD140 million.
When awarded in late 2005, the Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command contract “was a joint venture between ourselves and head office”, Keogh said. Now about 80 per cent of the program is based in Georgia, and JCB Americas has created a division for military products.
China expansion for UK forklift wheel maker
REDDITCH, United Kingdom
GKN OffHighway, a UK-based manufacturer of wheels, axles and driveline systems for forklifts and other equipment, has expanded in China with a GBP9 million (USD17.7 million) acquisition.
GKN Plc bought Liuzhou Steel Rim Factory, in Liuzhou City, southern China, to create a presence for its off highway division and subsidiary, GKN Wheels, in the Chinese market, a GKN statement said.
The Liuzhou wheel manufacturer for the off-highway industry employs 550 people and produces wheels for forklifts, agricultural and construction equipment, harbour cranes and light vehicles. In 2005, sales revenue was GBP9 million (USD17.7 million).
GKN OffHighway will integrate the factory into its global operations and retain the existing workforce, the statement said.
GKN OffHighway CEO Martyn Vaughan claims the UK-headquartered company is the world’s leading wheel manufacturer in Europe and the Americas for the agricultural and construction sector.
He said the acquisition created a significant market position for GKN in China.
“We intend to expand in this growing domestic market and develop Luizhou as a low-cost manufacturing centre to support our customers throughout Asia and beyond.”
GKN OffHighway, part of GKN Plc, has operated in China for 18 years and employs 2,800 people across its driveline, sinter metals and off-highway operations. The group envisions its China workforce increasing to 6,000 in four years, making China the third largest employment group in the GKN group.
GKN Wheels, a part of GKN OffHighway, has plants in US, UK Denmark and Italy.
Separately, GKN plc has announced it is in discussions with Visteon Corp to explore an acquisition of assets and liabilities relating to Visteon’s driveline business conducted at plants in Düren, Germany, Praszka, Poland, and Swansea, Wales. Driveline assets at Visteon’s Arbor plant, Sao Paulo, Brazil, are also likely to be part of the deal.
Kalmar parent buys Spanish distributor
Kalmar has signed an agreement to acquire the majority shareholding of its Spanish distributor Kalmar Espana SA.
Kalmar Espana has been a Kalmar agent since 1991. According to a Kalmar statement, the distributor has a strong customer base in the heavy industrial handling and port industries.
It employs six people and had net sales of about EUR11.3 million (USD14.8 million) in 2005. The acquisition value was not disclosed.
Kalmar announced in September it was buying its Belgian distributor, Catracom (Forkliftaction.com News #278).
European Commission approves Kion buy
The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of the Kion Group by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR).
According to Dow Jones International News, the commission said the deal would not create antitrust problems because few Goldman Sachs and KKR-owned companies used Kion’s equipment.
The private equity companies are paying EUR4 billion (USD5.27 billion) for Kion.
Bourgas buys 70 per cent of Balkancar company
Bulgarian company Bourgas Shipyards Co Ltd has bought a 70 per cent stake in forklift manufacturer Balkancar Dunav for LEV4 million (USD2.69 million), the Bulgarian News Digest reported.
Bourgas will pay the forklift producer’s debts within six months of the acquisition, as part of the deal. Balkancar Dunav’s debt stood at LEV2.2 million (USD1.48 million) as of September 30, 2006.
Balkancar Dunav, based in the port city of Lom, exports 95 per cent of its products to Europe (Forkliftaction.com News #281).
Cascade acquires more attachments
Forklift attachment manufacturer Cascade Corporation, based in Fairview, Oregon, last week announced it has acquired PSM Corporation, a manufacturer of construction attachments based in Woodinville, Washington.
Cascade president and CEO Robert Warren said the acquisition would “allow us to better serve existing PSM customers, significantly expand our geographic scope in the Americas, and begin producing construction attachments and tools in China for the Chinese domestic markets,” he said.
Cascade CFO Andy Anderson said the acquisition was “expected to add between USD20 million and USD30 million in revenue in 2007." He said the purchase price “was approximately USD40 million before working capital adjustments."
Doosan takes the next step
INCHEON, Korea, South
Next year, Doosan Daewoo forklifts will be known only as Doosan, as the South Korean manufacturer is now confident the Doosan name has gained recognition worldwide.
In 2005, Doosan Heavy Industries Inc acquired a controlling stake in forklift maker Daewoo Heavy Industries & Machinery for 1.69 trillion won (USD1.814 billion). Forklifts were then sold in Europe under the Doosan Daewoo brand. The domestic market, already familiar with the Doosan name, has been using Doosan alone for 19 months (Forkliftaction.com News #210).
Doosan is a large corporation in South Korea, involved in activities ranging from power plant construction, water desalination and diesel engine manufacturing to publishing, shopping malls and professional baseball.
According to a Doosan statement, “brand unification” was important for the company’s marketing efforts and corporate identity if Doosan Infracore, the segment that makes forklifts, construction equipment, machine tools, diesel engines and defence products, were to join the global top five in the infrastructure support business.
Efforts to familiarise the market with the Doosan name have included in-house exhibitions for overseas dealers and customers and participation in international trade expositions.
Doosan Infracore would implement a new brand management system to improve the brand’s image and strengthen its influence, a Doosan statement said.
“An overseas corporate advertising campaign is planned and various PR materials will be distributed worldwide.”
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UK forklift survey paints gloomy picture
STOCKTON, United Kingdom
Analysis by Bill Redmond
Few of Britain’s forklift companies are fully in control of their overall business strategies, says Plimsoll Publishing’s latest annual survey of the UK forklift industry.
According to The UK Forklift Trucks Industry, most leading players lost money in 2005 or earned thin margins.
The report, based on the financial analysis of 400 companies, found 44 per cent suffered a fall in pre-tax profits and average returns on investment fell 4.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent less than the interest most UK building societies pay.
“Very few forklift firms planning to come out on top, in terms of profits and sales, will actually achieve their goals,” the report said.
The 400 companies were scored on sales growth and financial strength to show which firms valued sales growth over stability and which were falling behind in both. Plimsoll claimed that provided insight into the companies’ long-term market strategies.
However sales growth, chosen by Plimsoll as a key indicator of strategic intentions, can be misleading.
Sales are recorded in money terms. A company’s sales may have fallen but forklift unit sales may have risen, reflecting a fall in prices owing to intensifying competition.
The report classified companies that have not raised financial sales as sleepers. In fact, they could be forging ahead in unit sales and in future could expect a rising stream of income from after-sales service support.
Readers should apply other caveats when assessing the Plimsoll model. For example, the report includes many large, diversified companies whose non-forklift operations dwarf the forklift divisions, so the figures give no inkling on how the forklift divisions have performed.
Finning, the largest company surveyed, is a good example. Its non-forklift divisions’ sales were several times those of its forklift interests, placing the whole group at 28th in terms of sales growth last year and an “excellent” second for pre-tax profits in the forklift industry. As events showed this year, Finning’s other interests in construction equipment masked serious trouble in the forklift division, forcing it to sell to Briggs Equipment for a loss of CAD33 million (USD28.7 million).
Despite the caveats, the survey is required reading for those doing business with UK forklift companies.
Bill Redmond, Forkliftaction.com News's UK-based journalist, has been writing about the forklift industry for UK trade publications since 1979.
Still tests technology with tractor
Hamburg airport, in Germany, is testing fuel cell-powered tow tractors provided by forklift manufacturer Still GmbH.
Two Still R 07-25 tow tractors have been adapted to fuel cell drives and are now conducting tasks previously performed by internal combustion-driven tow tractors.
As part of a two-year “Hamburg Airports moves with Hydrogen” research project, the airport aims to renew its fleet of tractors and reduce emission of exhaust fumes, a Still statement said.
Still GmbH sales promotion officer Jürgen Wrusch said the airport hoped to use fuel cell tow tractors if the test proved successful.
Requirements for the airport’s tow tractors included suitability for indoor and outdoor use and meeting airport safety regulations.
Hydrogenics GmbH, from Gladbeck, Germany, was Still’s partner company to supply the fuel cell systems (Forkliftaction.com News #271). The fuel cells are the PEM type, equipped with a polymer membrane that separates the anode from the cathode. The PEM fuel cells operate with hydrogen as fuel. Linde Gas Anwendungstechnik Hamburg provided the gas fuel point.
The tractors’ travel data and towing performance during the shift, their reliability, ease of control, energy consumption and possible range would be recorded as part of the test. The results would be compared to conventional tow tractors’ data.
Still has already installed a fuel cell system in the R60 series forklift, which was displayed at an international fuel cell fair in Hamburg in 2003. The forklift was used in Munich airport for about two years, Wrusch said.
“The test was stopped because we developed a new fuel cell unit for the RX60 forklift and R 07 tow tractors,” he said adding that a fuel cell RX60 forklift would be tested by a Still customers in 2007.
California nears tougher emission standards
SACRAMENTO, CA, United States
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has set January 12 as a deadline for public comments after posting modifications and changes to its proposed regulation for new emission standards, fleet requirements and test procedures for engines.
CARB’s website contains comments from 19 trade groups, manufacturers, forklift users and others. Most were filed during earlier rulemaking consideration in April and May.
CARB voted on May 25 to adopt the proposal for tougher emission standards and test procedures for off-road large spark ignition (LSI) engines powering forklifts, airport ground support equipment, sweepers/scrubbers, industrial tow tractors, generator sets and turf care equipment (Forkliftaction.com News #262).
Once inconsistencies or oversights are resolved, CARB will submit the LSI regulations to the California Office of Administrative Law for final adoption. The submission must occur by March 2 to remain within one year of CARB’s original regulatory notice.
The life and legacy of John L Grove
McCONNELLSBURG, PA, United States
Gerry Lute, a nephew of aerial work platform and crane pioneer John L Grove, has written a 219-page book that includes timelines for two companies Grove started.
Grove Manufacturing, founded in 1947, is a division of Manitowoc Crane Group, and JLG Industries Inc, founded in 1969, is a subsidiary of Oshkosh Truck Corp.
Lute, a mechanical engineer, spent most of his career at Grove and JLG working in new product development. While in college, he lived with the Grove family and worked for JLG.
TNT Logistics rebrands after acquisition
TNT NV’s former logistics division, TNT Logistics, has been renamed Ceva Logistics, after its sale to a private equity firm was completed.
Apollo Management LP, a private equity firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London, bought TNT Logistics for EUR1.48 billion (USD1.95 billion).
Ceva employs 38,000 people and operates more than 7.4 million square metres of warehouse space in 26 countries. It claims to be the second largest logistics company worldwide.
Movers & Shakers
ROUZERVILLE, PA, United States
Tony Groat has joined Aerial Work Platform Training Inc (AWPT), of Rouzerville, Pennsylvania, as North American membership development director. Based in Albany, New York, Groat started with Albany Ladder and NES Rental and has 31 years’ experience with the aerial work platform and forklift rental industry and related trade associations. AWPT is the US subsidiary of the International Powered Access Federation.
WESTPORT, CT, United States
Robert G Isaman will join Terex Corp as president of Terex Construction, effective from January 2, 2007. Isaman has spent 21 years at United Technologies Corp, most recently as president of Fire Safety Americas, UTC Fire & Security, in Farmington, Connecticut. In 2001, Isaman was president of UTC’s Otis Elevator (China) Investment Co Ltd, in Beijing.
BROOKFIELD, WI, United States
Senior vice president of business development at Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp Jim Fezatte has retired after almost 35 years with the company. Fezatte has spent 50 years in the forklift industry. He will spend time with his wife and family.
POOLER, GA, United States
Helmut Peters is retiring from his position as president of JCB Americas after six years. Peters was senior vice president of sales & marketing with Volvo AB construction equipment (VCE), headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, from 1999 to 2000.
JCB Americas has appointed Juan Pablo Moncada marketing manager for Central and South America, effective from December 26. Moncada served as a JCB intern while a student at the Savannah College of Art & Design and, subsequently, was marketing manager for the firm’s US southeast region.
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Nissan forklift helps charity
LEICESTER, United Kingdom
Nissan Forklift and its UK dealer Apollo Plant have spread some Christmas cheer by sponsoring a charity’s new forklift.
Leicester-based Konnect9 has distributed more than GBP500,000 (USD983,299) of gifts since it was established in 2001, the Leicester Mercury reported.
Businesses donate unwanted stock to the charity, which redistributes them to the needy. Konnect9’s used forklift broke down and the charity raised GBP8,000 (USD15,732.70) to buy a new one. However, a new forklift costs more.
Konnect9 approached Apollo Plant for help.
The Nissan dealer’s managing director Bob Haunch, who contacted Nissan, said:
“It was an honour for us to play a small part in supporting such a worthwhile project, especially at Christmas.”
NTP wins Electrolux contract
ADELAIDE, South Australia, Australia
NTP Forklifts Australia has won a contract to supply 160 forklifts and industrial vehicles to kitchen appliance company Electrolux Home Products Pty Ltd.
The national contract is for five years.
NTP national sales manager Damien Garvey said the Electrolux deal was “worth millions”.
He said NTP would supply 120 1.8-tonne to 2.5-tonne TCM industrial LPG forklifts and 40 Taylor-Dunn electric commercial vehicles. The main delivery points will be to Electrolux factories at Orange, in New South Wales, and Dudley Park, South Australia.
Garvey said 12 forklift companies had competed for the Electrolux tender, which was awarded in late August. The machines will be delivered to Electrolux between January and April 2007.
Garvey said NTP’s factory-direct strategy with TCM and Taylor-Dunn may have won the deal.
TCM forklifts are manufactured at one of three TCM factories in Japan. TCM Corporation has a manufacturing alliance with Hitachi Construction Machinery Company. In the last 12 months, TCM has expanded its global manufacturing and marketing business, setting up TCM subsidiaries in the US, Belgium, China and Bangkok. Taylor-Dunn commercial and industrial vehicles are manufactured in southern California, USA.
NTP has been an Electrolux supplier in the past and Garvey said it looked forward to working with Electrolux to manage its fleet nationwide.
NTP represents the Manitou, Manilec, TCM, Taylor-Dunn, Hytsu and Fantuzzi brands. It has branches in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Giant cranes arrive at Brisbane port
BRISBANE, Qld, Australia
Two of the tallest waterfront cranes in Australia have been delivered to Toll Group’s Patrick container terminal at the Port of Brisbane.
They arrived on December 2 from China.
A Toll statement said the 108-metre high, AUD9 million ship-to-shore gantry cranes were just under Brisbane Airport flight path limitations. “They are equivalent in height to a 20-storey building,” it said. They have a 75-tonne lifting capacity and weigh 118 tonnes.
The cranes were manufactured by Shanghai-based Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC), a major quayside container and rubber-tyred gantry crane manufacturer, a Toll spokesperson said. ZPMC employs more than 800 engineers and distributes its products to 54 countries and regions and more than 120 ports worldwide, a ZPMC statement said.
Patrick’s Brisbane manager Matt Hollamby said the cranes were delivered to move shipping containers from larger ships.
“These cranes will allow us to handle the biggest ships currently calling into Australia. They underline our commitment to the Port of Brisbane as the fastest growing Australian port,” he said.
The statement said seven similar cranes had been delivered to Fremantle, Sydney and Melbourne ports in recent weeks. The Toll spokesperson said the cranes would take six to eight weeks to commission and would be operational in 2007.
The cranes are post panamax, which means they service ships too big to pass through the locks of the Panama Canal.
Brisbane-based port engineer and Cullen, Grummitt & Roe Group chairman Alan Grummitt said overdesign was a problem in the post-Panama era. In some cases ports were “shorter than ships” and he was concerned about global control of ship size.
“Ships grow, cranes get bigger, and equipment gets bigger. How big do we go? The largest vessel is now on the drawing board. Its turning basin will be 640 metres and there are very few ports that can accommodate this.”
Lencrow imports EP pallet jacks
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Forklift distributor Lencrow Group has taken delivery of a new range of Chinese-manufactured low-profile, 1,500kg hand pallet jacks.
A Lencrow statement said it had received 100 pallet jacks from EP Equipment Ltd in the last two months that “added to the full range of units imported under the EP brand”. The hand pallet jacks are standard or narrow profile with a lowered height of 51mm. That made them suitable for imported, disposable pallets.
EP is a forklift and equipment manufacturer based in Xiacheng District, China. An EP statement said this month it had two new EP forklift distributors, Locket Consulting Ltd, in the Ukraine, and Canadian Forklift Distributors Ltd, in Canada.
Toll Holdings divides and conquers
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
Transport and logistics company Toll Holdings last week advised the Australian Stock Exchange that it intended to separate its transport infrastructure and supply chain businesses.
A Toll statement said the proposed restructure would create two ASX-listed companies, Toll Holdings and Infrastructure Co. Each company would have separate management teams and boards of directors.
The statement said that “would allow Toll Holdings to access key intermodal infrastructure without needing to own it”. Infrastructure Co would control 100 per cent of Pacific National and Patrick ports. It would explore port, rail, airport and toll road investment opportunities.
The restructure requires shareholder and Federal Government approval.
Competition keen for Brisbane port
BRISBANE, Qld, Australia
Port of Brisbane Corporation CEO Jeff Coleman this week said seven submissions had been received to operate berths 11 and 12 at the Port of Brisbane.
He said all submissions were from experienced operators.
“The seven proponents represent a range of well-known, highly respected Australian and international terminal operators and shipping lines,” he said.
The successful applicant will be announced in late 2007.
Alpha expands its forklift range
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Materials handling company Alpha Warehouse Solutions has increased its Australian range of Baoli forklifts to include 10-tonne forklifts.
An Alpha statement said the range included new 1.5-tonne to 10-tonne gas and diesel forklifts were about AUD20,000 + GST. It said new 1.5-tonne to 2.5-tonne battery electric models were about AUD18,000 + GST.
Alpha sales development manager Jennifer Carey said sales delivery time was six to eight weeks.
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Century invests in flexible manufacturing
Century, Australia’s only forklift battery cell manufacturer, has ramped up production capacity at its Wacol Manufacturing Facility by a further 25% this year in response to market demand.
Century is the market leader for forklift power solutions in Australia and New Zealand and has products that are renowned for lasting and lasting, together with a dedicated focus on cradle-to-grave service.
Century’s Wacol Manufacturing Facility is aiming for maximum flexibility in production to produce the right mix of products suitable for forklifts from all over the globe. To support this objective an additional Oxide Filling Machine has been installed. This machine...
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Mobile's Self-Propelled Products - Poised to Move the World!
Mobile Industries Inc. has introduced a line of heavy duty self-propelled products designed to handle a wide variety of applications. While continuing to focus on quality, ergonomics and durability, Mobile realizes the importance of economic positioning. These items feature an extremely competitive price point which will enable the dealer to carry an exciting line of dependable products while maintaining a favorable profit center.
Mobile is seeking new distributors in Europe and the Middle East and also in some regions of North America. For exciting sales opportunities, please contact a Mobile representative for more information.
MHIA: 2007 favourable for materials handling
CHARLOTTE, NC, United States
The Material Handling Industry of America’s (MHIA) latest quarterly materials handling equipment manufacturing (MHEM) forecast shows the sector will continue to be favourable in 2007.
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