Access-20 2008: Biggest access equipment manufacturers in the world

07 May 2008

Last year Access International predicted that the big percentage increases in turnover experienced in 2006 would not be replicated in 2007. It was anticipated that the North American market would flatten out and so would the growth of the big US access suppliers.

Turnover increases in 2007, where we can accurately judge them, may not be quite so dramatic as 2006, but they are certainly significant. The affect of the credit crunch does not seem to have taken its toll yet, with many companies reporting their last quarter as the best of the year.

Much of the growth can be attributed to activity outside North America: in established markets such as western Europe and new ones such as eastern Europe and the Middle East which are enjoying rapid growth.

Total sales from the top 20 manufacturers in 2007 is estimated at US$8.7 billion a 34% rise on 2006, practically matching the rise from 2005 to 2006 (35%). Sales from the top three manufacturers: Genie, JLG and Haulotte rose by 57% – although it is likely that JLG's sales figures for 2006 were under reported last year – and represent some 63% of the Access 20 sales.

This year's theme could be said to be globalisation: Genie and JLG have increased their presence worldwide particularly in Europe and Australasia. Haulotte continued pressing into North America and Eastern Europe and Aichi has launched global products for the North American (and soon European) markets.

Activity in the North American market is demonstrated by the healthy results from Canadian Linamar company, Skyjack which sells primarily in this market. Skyjack's re-entry into the boom market and its purchase of Carelift's telehandler business will have contributed to the 33% growth of the Skyjack business.

The Tanfield Group is a new addition to the Access 20 although its figures comprise those of two established companies: UpRight and Snorkel. The reorganisation of the Snorkel and UpRight business, to serve different geographical markets make comparisons with previous years irrelavent. Tanfield predicts that its turnover from access equipment will increase 300% increase to £83.1 million (US$164.9 million), £60 million (US$119 million) of which is said to be contributed by the UpRight business.

Manitou has delivered the most impressive growth in the top 20 with 56%. Manitou has benefited from the large order backlogs of some of the other companies and has capitalised on its ability to respond quickly.

Topping the list for 2007 is JLG – last year's estimates for the company's sales may have been a little conservative, so a percentage growth figure is not particularly relevant, this year we can be confident that the numbers are in the right ball park. The three companies at the bottom of the top 20 – Anton Ruthmann, Wumag and Geda are so close it seemed most fair to position them as equal 18.

Some of the figures for 2007 appear to show companies in decline – not so. In some cases such as Terex Utilities we have been better able to separate out the figures which apply to the utility truck business. In the cases of Altec and Time Manufacturing we may have been a little over generous with the 2006 figures, both these companies enjoyed healthy sales through 2007.

The weak dollar, especially against the euro and sterling has had a beneficial affect on the figures from the European companies. Outside the top 20 but worth a mention are Finnish company, Dinolift, which has returned a 31.5% increase in turnover and Italian company Iteco which reports a massive 78% increase in turnover. German company Teupen has also shown healthy sales figures of $43.8 million.

Fraco, which appeared at number 21 in our list last year has slipped a little, this is believed to be due to a change of management structure.

With a tentative start to the year we cannot expect huge growth in 2008 but globalisation will continue. Bejing JingCheng has just announced its intention to sell trailer mounted and aerial platforms into Europe and North America, Aichi's global products will roll out across those same markets and with Chinese company, Baoda's, mastclimbers now CE marked and ready to be sold in Europe as well as North America there may be some interesting changes to the top 20.

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