UpRight owner to buy Snorkel

19 March 2008

Darren Kell

Darren Kell

UK–based Tanfield Group, owner of UpRight Powered Access, has agreed do buy Snorkel for $100 million, plus $25 million of debt.

Estimated to be completed July 24, the deal will make Tanfield the owner of two of the oldest and most recognized brand names in the powered access business, and give t the US manufacturing base it has been seeking for the past year.

The Snorkel brand will be retained and included in the deal is the company's manufacturing facilities in St Joseph, US, and in New Zealand.

Tanfield Chief Executive Darren Kell said, “This is a transformational acquisition for Tanfield, significantly strengthening our position as a eading global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and commercial electric vehicles.”

Snorkel has been sold by its five private shareholders, ncluding chief executive officer Al Havlin, who will remain involved in the business in a part–time consultancy role.

The deal also brings back to UpRight its long–time ormer US sales director, Frank Scarborough, who is Snorkel's vice president of operations, sales and marketing and COO. He will stay in this role under Tanfield. Both Kell and Scarborough said there will be no change in Snorkel's staff.

“The guys have done a very good job with business. They are very well thought of by its customers, they are very well thought of as a group of individuals. So, it would be remiss of us to change that,” said Kell.

The product fit between UpRight and Snorkel appears to be very good. Snorkel brings the larger selfpropelled booms and rough terrain scissors that UpRight was hoping to re–introduce – and which now may not be developed. UpRight did not have any telescopic booms.

Although Kell couldn't give in–depth information on future product lines, he did confirm that UpRight was looking at a number of niche product opportunities. “We are looking to strengthen the rough terrain scissor range and add models to that collectively to UpRight and Snorkel. We are looking to introduce more to the telescopic boom range,” Kell said.

Kell told ALH that the two product lines would continue to be sold under their respective brands, although there uld be opportunities for double branding of the same oducts in particular countries or depending on the stomer. He said there would be “no rash decisions on branding.”

According to both companies, Snorkel customers and alers should have no worries about the deal. “No ason to be concerned,” said Scarborough. “It's going allow Snorkel to rapidly add new products [and give] the financial wherewithal to grow the new product fering to the future.”

Kell added that Tanfield would immediately invest in owing the Snorkel and UpRight business. One–third of orkel's main facility in St Joseph is currently leased t, and this will be taken back for Snorkel/UpRight use. said that he hoped the first UpRight products would w off the production line within four months.

Tanfield will retain Snorkel's recently opened stribution facility in the Netherlands, as well as Right's existing facility in Fresno, CA, which currently ts as a distribution and service location.

The acquisition solidifies Tanfield's position as a seatrious player in the powered access business. Snorkel's iewes for the year 2006 were $131.5 million with profits fore tax of $9.6 million.

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