UpRight Parent Tanfield to Acquire Snorkel

July 1, 2007
WASHINGTON, TYNE & WEAR, England UpRight Inc. parent company The Tanfield Group Plc, recently announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Snorkel

WASHINGTON, TYNE & WEAR, England — UpRight Inc. parent company The Tanfield Group Plc, recently announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Snorkel Holdings, using proceeds from a planned placement of £115 million (about U.S. $230 million). Tanfield has agreed to acquire Snorkel for U.S. $100 million plus $25 million in assumed debt.

According to aerial industry sources, the deal would make Washington, Tyne & Wear, England-based Tanfield, which also owns U.K.-based Smith Electric Vehicles, the fourth-largest aerial player globally behind JLG Industries, Terex/Genie and Haulotte. In North America it would trail JLG, Terex/Genie and SkyJack. Tanfield acquired UpRight last year and has nearly doubled the company's volume in one year, while its profits rose 75 percent.

The acquisition of Snorkel will significantly increase Tanfield's geographic footprint, as well as its product range, scale of operations and potential for a more efficient global supply chain. Tanfield executives and directors believe the acquisition will deliver product synergies with little overlap between Tanfield's powered access division and Snorkel. With Snorkel being a well-known and highly respected brand in the aerial industry, with many rental customers, Tanfield is expected to maintain the Snorkel brand.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Tanfield, significantly strengthening our position as a leading global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and commercial electric vehicles,” said Tanfield chief executive Darren Kell. “The addition of manufacturing capability in the USA and Australasia, plus established sales networks in these territories, will created a Powered Access Division with comprehensive global coverage.”

UpRight's core territories are Europe and the Middle East, with Snorkel particularly strong in North America and the Asia Pacific region. Tanfield directors believe Snorkel's product range, focused on medium to large articulated and telescopic booms, will be a fit with UpRight's small to medium lift inventory. Snorkel is a worldwide supplier of self-propelled booms, articulated and telescopic booms, aerial lifts and self-propelled scissorlifts.

“It's a great opportunity for both organizations,” Guy Ramsey, publisher of Lift and Access magazine and a former CEO of an aerial rental company, told RER. “It's a really nice fit. There are very few crossover products, other than a few electric scissorlifts. There really aren't any holes in the product mixes, although neither has a large platform rough-terrain scissorlift. But UpRight has good knuckleboom products, which Snorkel would have to invest in to try to catch up. And UpRight at this time has no straight boom or conventional boom products which Snorkel has a fine product.

“From a distribution standpoint, Snorkel is well entrenched in the Pacific Rim in Australia and New Zealand and has an excellent reputation there. They've done a good job re-establishing themselves in North America, but they've needed help in Europe where UpRight has continued to support and maintain relationships and a presence in those markets.”

The funding will also provide Tanfield with resources to establish Smith Electric Vehicles in North America, hoping to recreate its leading market position in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. Tanfield plans to establish manufacturing capabilities for its zero emission vehicles in the U.S. as the market and public interest — particularly major fleet operators — in electric vehicles grows. The company expects to launch a U.S. version of its Smith Edison van and Smith Newton truck in early 2008.

UpRight is headquartered in the U.S. near Fresno, Calif. The facility could conceivably be used by Tanfield for manufacturing and distribution of electric vehicles as well as aerial equipment.

In addition to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and the successful completion of Tanfield's placing, the completion of the acquisition depends on the passing of a special resolution of Tanfield's extraordinary general meeting.

UpRight, based in Dublin, has a manufacturing facility near Fresno, Calif. Snorkel is based in St. Joseph, Mo.