A Boxer 400 series model.

A Boxer 400 series model.

Morbark Inc, a US manufacturer of wood chippers and stump grinders, has acquired Boxer Equipment from Mertz Manufacturing. The Boxer range includes compact utility loaders, trenchers and attachments.

The acquisition includes product designs, manufacturing tools, existing parts, completed units and other inventory. Morbark said it hoped to start production of the Boxer range at its 1.1 million ft 2 facility in Winn, Michigan, in the first quarter of 2013.

A spokesman for Morbark told IRN that series 300 Boxers could be coming off the production line by the end of February, with series 500 models to follow.

Morbark said the deal would enhance its existing business in the tree service and rental markets and allow it to expand its presence and equipment offering to a broader range of industries and end users, including landscapers, irrigation and trenching contractors, property owners, and general contractors.

Jim Shoemaker, Jr., president of Morbark, said; “The strong strategic fit between our companies, combined with Morbark’s expanded capabilities in product development, manufacturing and dealer distribution will enable us to efficiently maximise the value and long-term potential of the Boxer product line, allowing it to become one of the market leaders in the compact utility loader category.”

Jason Showers, Morbark product manager, told IRN that the priority export markets would initially be Europe, Latin America and Australia/New Zealand. He said Morbark was discussing the Boxer range with its current dealers and would also reach out to pre-existing Boxer representatives.

Morbark has dealers all over the world, including in Europe, Latin America, Canada and Asia. Its main dealer for Europe is Netherlands based OBM Tec, while Novator is its dealer for Russia. Forestry equipment specialist Komatsu Forest represents Morbark in Brazil.

Steve Ballinger, president of Mertz, said the company had looked for a buyer “that had its own manufacturing capability, as well as shared our desire to see the line continue to develop, grow and realize its full potential. We know without a doubt that Morbark shares this same vision and will apply the necessary resources to bring it to fruition.”

Mertz will now focus on its custom manufacturing services to the oil and gas and energy sectors.

The Boxer range, which includes the 300, 400 and 500 series mini skid steers as well as the 118 dedicated trencher, have been used in the rental sector for many years.

One of the biggest owners of Boxer machines is Compact Power Equipment Centers (CPEC), the company that provides rental services at several hundred Home Depot stores in the US. Compact Power, under president and chief executive officer Roger Braswell, was formerly a sister company to Boxer before splitting off to focus on the Home Depot rentals business.

There is no formal sales agreement between Morbark and CPEC but Morbark's Mr Showers said the two companies had held some discussions.

Morbark is exhibiting at the upcoming Rental Show in Las Vegas on 11-13 February, where it will show a Boxer 320 unit.

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