Interview: Toni Laaksonen, McCloskey International

The start of a new year invariably involves looking forward to the future with a nod to what has gone before. For Toni Laaksonen, senior vice president of mobile crushing and screening specialist McCloskey International, 2022 will mark the third anniversary of the company’s acquisition by Metso.

But how has it gone so far?

Toni Laaksonen Toni Laaksonen: ‘There will definitely be new products this year’

“At that point when we were thinking of this new strategy and approaching the market by using multiple brands, we evaluated what type of companies are competitive with mobile crushers and screeners,” says Toni.

“Our priority number one was McCloskey. We saw that the company is really competitive in the contractor segment, and we saw a good fit between McCloskey and Metso. It was late 2018 when my boss Markku Simula [now president of the Metso Outotec aggregates business area] had the first discussions with Paschal McCloskey and we were able to sign the purchase agreement seven month later. It was definitely faster than we expected, and I would say easier because the companies were so well aligned.”

With the acquisition complete in good time for the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union – much of McCloskey’s manufacturing capacity is in Northern Ireland – the newly owned company approached 2020 with confidence. Three months later, it was facing up to Covid-19.

“From the business point of view, the biggest impact was here in Northern Ireland because there was a couple of months when we had to introduce the furlough scheme and keep our factories closed due to government regulations,” Toni recalls.

“Luckily, we could keep the business up and running because we still had finished good inventories. So we kept delivering to the customers until we were able to start manufacturing again.

“In Canada we were able to keep manufacturing throughout the period. We did not have to shut down at all. Then we opened some production in India, over there we have been continuing to manufacture all the time. Finland, where Metso Outotec is headquartered, was in line with other parts of Europe – there was some impact but nothing like as severe as in the UK – then governments started to open up and invest in infrastructure projects, as happened later in North America.

“In the third and fourth quarters of 2020, we started seeing a really good order intake and the business picked up again. That gave us a positive problem, because now we had to scale up rapidly.”

Toni believes that 2022 has the potential to be a “record breaking” year for McCloskey, helped by further expansion into Asian markets in general and India in particular. But he also acknowledges the work put in since the acquisition to make this possible.

“A big highlight of the past two years is that our dealer network has been growing continuously, it’s getting stronger and stronger.

“From the product portfolio point of view, we have introduced the new cone crusher range in cooperation with Metso Outotec and there are technologies we have been sharing in the brands that enabled us to introduce a full range of really competitive mobile cones.

“Our research and development investment are increasing. Metso Outotec is more focused on the stationary business now, and our products are all mobile. It looks really positive. The biggest challenges are things like do we have enough containers? How are the logistics costs between Asia and Europe? How many components are available?

“But these are positive challenges. The more we can manufacture, the more we can sell. There will definitely be new products this year.”

  • Read the full series of interviews in the January-February issue of Demolition & Recycling International, published next month
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