RERMAG

EQUIPMENT NEWS

Terex to Buy Benford Parent Continuing its aggressive consolidation of the rental industry's supply side, Terex Corp. has agreed to acquire Powerscreen International PLC, the parent company of compaction specialist Benford America, for $294 million. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Based in Northern Ireland, Powerscreen has annual sales of $365 million, of which about 60 percent is derived from its screening and crushing equipment, and the remaining 40 percent from truck-mounted material handlers, compaction equipment, mixers and dump trucks.

Benford America, Texas City, Texas, will join a newly formed light equipment division along with Amida Industries, which Terex acquired last year. The screening and crushing business will be integrated into Terex Earthmoving, and material handling will fall under Terex Lifting, which includes Marklift and Simon, according to Terex CEO Ronald DeFeo.

In a letter to customers, Benford America executive vice president John Burks said Terex "is certain to continue the investment plan for Benford and to help us grow this business."

Since 1995, Terex has acquired 11 companies for about $460 million and grown revenues from $500 million to a projected $1.6 billion this year. North American markets account for about 50 percent of sales, which include cranes and hydraulic excavators.

In part to fund future acquisitions and repay debt, Westport, Conn.-based Terex also announced a public offering of 3.5 million shares of common stock at $30.50, with an underwriter option to buy up to 525,000 additional shares to cover over-allotments.

Stone Directors Elect Woodworth President and COO Stone Construction Equipment's employee owners elected Lynne Woodworth to their board of directors, which, in turn, elected her president and chief operating officer of the Honeoye, N.Y.-based equipment manufacturer.

Woodworth, who has served in a variety of executive capacities at the company over the past 18 years, said she has been, in effect, training for the post . "Stone has an effective succession-planning strategy to make sure the organization will continue to grow and be effective," she told RER. "While the current generation of senior managers is approaching retirement age, we're grooming new ones. We want to make sure we have people prepared to continue to lead the company."

Robert Fein, who has been president and chief executive officer since 1982, was named chairman of the board and will continue as CEO.

In other Stone news, the company recently broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot addition to its Honeoye manufacturing plant.

JLG Acquires German Lift Distributor, Receives Clearance to Buy Gradall JLG Industries recently bought Litra Handeslgesellschaft mbH, a distributor of aerial work platforms based in Ritterhude, Germany.

The company, which will do business as JLG Litra, will sell and service JLG lifts throughout Germany.

"Our customers will gain greater access to JLG equipment with better, faster service and more competitive pricing," said Jens Muller-Nielsen, general manager of the distributorship. "We're also happy to be able to offer JLG financing for equipment purchases."

In other JLG news, the McConnellsburg, Pa.-based manufacturer announced that its proposed acquisition of Gradall Industries has received government clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. JLG has offered $200 million for New Philadelphia, Ohio-based Gradall in a deal it hopes to complete by the end of this month.

Solon Resigns as Snorkel President Graco Acquires Bollhoff Verfahrenstechnik Rick Solon has resigned as president and CEO of aerial work platform manufacturer Snorkel. Sources close to the company told RER that Solon left on good terms, but has felt increasingly uncomfortable since the St. Joseph, Mo.-based firm was acquired by Port Washington, Wis.-based Omniquip International in late 1997.

"Snorkel has become more like a division of Omniquip, rather than a wholly owned subsidiary," said a source. "Although he respected the parent company, as CEO, he didn't seem to feel that he fit in with its corporate culture."

Omniquip officials could not be reached for comment.

Under Solon's leadership, Snorkel - one of the industry's leading manufacturers of scissorlifts and boomlifts-introduced a number of innovative programs, including the Master Wrench program, under which the factory provides thorough training for mechanics who then become available to distributors for hire on a short-term, long-term or permanent basis. Snorkel also began the development of regional equipment refurbishing centers.

Solon was also known as a staunch advocate of aerial safety, which he viewed as the key to the success of the aerial industry. Under his leadership, Snorkel developed a CD-ROM-based operator training program, which furthered the company's reputation as an aerial safety leader.

Gehl Incorporates European Excavators into Product Lines Gehl Co. is bringing an established European line of compact excavators to North American markets to complement its skid-steer loader line.

Manufactured by Neuson Baumaschinen GmbH of Austria, the line will be marketed under both the Gehl and Mustang brand names. It features 12 models, ranging from 14 to 62 horsepower with rated capacities from 1.4 to 8 metric tons.

West Bend, Wis.-based Gehl will distribute the excavators through its existing dealer network as well as "select non-skid-loader dealers."

Buhler Purchases Progressive Manufacturing Buhler Industries, Winnipeg, Ontario, has acquired Progressive Manufacturing Ltd., a privately held Winnipeg-based company that specializes in metal stamping, pressing and coating.

According to Buhler, the acquisition complements its core business of manufacturing agricultural equipment, which is marketed to North America under the brand names Allied and Farm King. Progressive generates $2.5 million in annual sales, while Buhler has annual gross revenues of $89 million.

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