Holland Lift anticipates 2009 growth despite downturn

By Murray Pollok27 November 2008

Menno Koel, sales director and part-owner of Holland Lift.

Menno Koel, sales director and part-owner of Holland Lift.

Netherlands scissor lift manufacturer Holland Lift has expanded its production capacity and said its outlook for 2009 remained good, with revenues expected to grow by around 10% to €20 million despite the much-reported slowdown in demand from rental companies in western Europe.

Menno Koel, sales director and part-owner of Hoorn-based Holland Lift, told Access International that the company already had a backlog stretching through to the start of 2010, with lead times varying from 3 to over 12 months depending on the model. He said the company had seen very few cancellations of orders.

"The equipment we make is not competing with the big players. There is still work for the machines; there is still a margin in them. Customers value the extra that our machines offer", said Mr Koel. More expensive than conventional scissors, the Holland Lift machines are heavy duty, high platform capacity models, with the company's strength being mid- and large-sized scissors.

The company's claim that its machines have so far been less impacted by the economic downturn is supported by the example of one of its biggest customers in the Netherlands, Noordwijk-based HWS Verhuur. One of HWS's joint managing directors, Paul H A van Boven, told Access International that it was cutting its investment in new machines from 120 units this year to just 15 in 2009, and all 15 will be Holland Lift models.

Mr Koel acknowledged that markets will be more difficult in 2009, but he is still hoping to increase production from the 350 models produced this year to 500 units within two or three years. At the start of November, a new 6000 m2 facility across the road from its existing factory was opened, giving Holland Lift a total of 16000 m2 production space. Around 60 people are employed in Hoorn, although a further 80-100 people are working with steel fabrication and painting sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Netherlands.

Mr Koel and his business partner, finance director Pieter Boogert, now run the business as joint owners, having bought out previous owner Roger Tracy late in 2007, with the help of an Amsterdam-based private equity company.

Read the full interview with Menno Koel in the January-February issue of Access International.

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