Access-20 2007: The world's biggest access equipment manufacturers

20 March 2008

Genie tops the list with aerial work platform sales of $1.6 billion in 2006.

Genie tops the list with aerial work platform sales of $1.6 billion in 2006.

North America is handing over the baton to Europe as the growth axis shifts eastwards. Manufacturers are expecting demand to hold up in North America this year, but it is clear that any big increases in sales will come from the European rental sector –that much is clear from the impressive sales growth figures from European suppliers as diverse as Dinolift and OP Pagliero.

Total sales from the top 20 manufacturers in 2006 are estimated to be US$6.5 billion, a 35% rise on the $4.8 billion in 2005. Sales by the top three self–propelled manufacturers –Genie, JLG and Haulotte –rose by around 40% to $3.7 billion, or 57% of the Access 20 sales.

The big increases at Genie, Snorkel, JLG and Skyjack are heavily dependent on the buoyant North American rental sector, of course, but don't expect the same kinds of increases in 2007. The consensus is that sales in North America will be at a similar level as 2006 –still historically very high –but the growth levels of the last two or three years are unlikely to be matched.

If growth is still the main story of this year's survey –as it was in 2005 –there is also an extremely significant new entrant to the list –GJJ, the first Chinese manufacturer in the world's top 20.

The company made almost 1300 hoists in 2006 and is by some margin the biggest access manufacturer in China. It is also now becoming more aggressive in export markets and will, for example, be exhibiting at Bauma this year. GJJ is not the country's only manufacturer, of course, and it will not be the last to enter the Access 20 list.

One other almost new entrant (placed at number 22) is Japan's Nagano. We couldn't get an official figure from the company, so our estimate is a provisional figure: we hope to have a more reliable figure next year. It is worth noting that Hanix is planning to market the Nagano machines in Europe from 2008 onwards. Also that Nagano is now building some machines for Aichi: this would suggest that it will be a real contender for the top 20 next year.

Another company sneaking into the top 25 –but not quite the top 20 –is Finland's Dinolift. Like many manufacturers in Europe Dinolift has spent the last 12 months investing in production capacity, an investment that will pay off handsomely this year. Dinolift's reported 12% rise in sales last year is very likely to be exceeded in 2007. Of interest here is the fact that a significant proportion of the company's growth comes from ‘new’ territories in east and central Europe.

As always, there are figures in the list that require further explanation. The battle between the top two –JLG and Genie –is complicated by the fact that JLG's reporting periods differ from Genie's, and also, now, by JLG's acquisition by Oshkosh.

This year's figure for JLG is for the 12 months to 31 October 2006, and cannot be directly compared to the figure for 2005, which was for the year to 31 July 2005 (hence the lack of a percentage growth figure). Our estimate also has to make assumptions about JLG's aftersales business, splitting these revenues pro rata with the sales of its different equipment types.

Our figures for Genie's business have been complicated in the past by Terex's inclusion of non–aerial platform products in its reporting.

However, investor information now available splits out the revenues for telehandlers, aerial platforms and products such as lighting towers and generators that are sold under the Genie name in North America. The $1600 figure can therefore be considered as reliable. (In passing, the figures reveal telehandler sales of around $380 million in 2006.)

The utility lift sector is another that has been difficult to obtain reliable information. However, this year we are more confident than in the past: we estimate Altec's global sales to be around US$1 billion, of which digger derrick sales representing an estimated 30% have been excluded. Of the quoted $700 million balance, $400 million is thought to be sales of new aerial platforms, and $300 million for leasing and rental revenues.

Terex also now splits out the utility sales business from the roadbuilding and other equipment included in its utility/roadbuilding division, and this reveals utility equipment sales of $306 million in 2006. From this, we exclude around 20% for digger derrick sales.

This year's list came just a year early for resurgent UpRight Powered Access. The UpRight business was acquired in June 2006, but it wasn't until the company's dealer conference in December last year that real momentum began to built. Turnover last year was likely to be under $20 million, which would have it jostling to get into the top 25, but not quite there. Weekly turnover is currently running at twice the level of June last year, so it is safe to assume a re–entry for UpRight in next year's list.

Next year's survey will be fascinating, as Europe continues to become an increasingly important market. However, it will be what happens in North America that will be foremost in the minds of the big US suppliers.

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