In an announcement last week to members of the media near its St. Joseph, Mo., headquarters, Snorkel International announced that it is investing $10 million to ramp up production as it moves into full-line manufacturing of its aerial work platforms.
“Demand is so high for our products that right now there is a golden opportunity to become a major player in what is a $7 billion-a-year industry,” said Frank Scarborough, president of Snorkel.
The Tanfield Group, which purchased Snorkel in August for an enterprise value of $125 million, has already cleared all of Snorkel’s debt in the United States and is investing a further $10 million to expand and improve the facilities at St. Joseph, Mo., allowing Snorkel to ramp up production and also start building new products for a global market.
The initial $10 million investment includes $4 million for a state-of-the-art paint plant at Snorkel’s factory in Elwood, Kan. The sister facility in Wathena, Kan., will more than double in size to 95,000 square feet to manufacture the new product lines. It will also purchase a new IT system, machine tools and other equipment.
“We see this deal that we’ve struck with Snorkel as being fundamental to our business as we expand,” Tanfield CEO Darren Kell told the media in attendence. “We are a much smaller, yet dynamic group, that wants to be a bigger player in this sector.”
Snorkel is recruiting an additional 40 assembly workers, with at least 60 more to follow by summer 2008, as the company steps up production.
Tanfield already owns the UpRight and Aerial Access brands of personnel lifts, but Snorkel will be Tanfield’s only aerial work platform brand in the U.S. Plans call for Snorkel to absorb eight popular UpRight machines into its product range — small to medium-sized electric and diesel-powered aerial lifts — and for the manufacturing of these lifts to be transferred from Fresno, Calif., to St. Joseph, Mo. In addition, St. Joseph will also become Tanfield’s global manufacturing base for larger boomlifts.