North American telehandler manufacturer Xtreme Manufacturing, LLC (Xtreme) has signed an agreement for the staged acquisition of aerial lift manufacturer Snorkel from its UK owner, The Tanfield Group.

Under the terms of the deal a new company Snorkel International Holdings (Snorkel) was set up. Xtreme, which is owned by Don Ahern, who also owns Ahern Rentals, has acquired an initial 51% stake in the company, in exchange for agreeing to invest up to US$50 million, mainly to be used as working capital.

Tanfield has acquired 49% of the new company in exchange for contributing substantially all of the assets of its Snorkel business division.

Shareholders in The Tanfield Group, which is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal with Xtreme earlier this month. Under the agreement, all three of Tanfield’s executive officers, including CEO Darren Kell, have joined the board of Snorkel International Holdings, while also stepping down from Tanfield’s board of Directors.

Jon Pither, chairman of Tanfield, said, “Don Ahern has a proven track record in the lifting equipment industry. I have every confidence that, with the help and support of the Snorkel management team, he will deliver a bright future for Snorkel.”

Mr Ahern added that the plan was to make Snorkel one of the top players in the aerial lift market. “Snorkel was founded in the USA and has a long, proud history in America. This is a strong brand, with an excellent product range and superb global distribution capabilities, making it a great fit with Xtreme.

"With the right strategic investment, Snorkel will regain its rightful position as a major player in the aerial lift market.

Mr Ahern added, “We have a large number of Snorkel products in our own rental fleet at Ahern Rentals, as do many other independent rental companies. It is my desire to provide world-class aftermarket support and restore Snorkel’s leadership in product development.”

Xtreme is a Nevada-based manufacturer of telehandlers. The agreement will enable Xtreme to make its full range of products and services available outside of the US, in some cases marketed under the Snorkel brand.

Ahern Rentals is one of the largest companies in the US equipment rental market and a longstanding customer of Snorkel. Ahern Rentals plans to offer direct sales of Snorkel machines and replacement parts as well as service and repair of Snorkel products from its 75 rental stores across 23 US states.

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