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INDUSTRY TODAY 131
MANITEX INTERNATIONAL • PROFILE
ICHE” IS NEAT, EFFICIENT AND
profitable when your name is Manitex
International Inc.
A leading provider of engineered lifting
solutions, Manitex International special-
izes in niche products for niche markets, describes President and
Chief Operating Officer Andrew Rooke, who could certainly
add versatility, innovation and vision to the Bridgeview, Illinois-
headquartered company’s profile.
Boom trucks, rough terrain crane and forklifts, indoor electric
forklifts, specialized trailers and special mission-oriented equip-
ment – these vehicles traverse the market terrain that Manitex
carved out for itself.
“Each piece of equipment is a highly engineered niche prod-
uct that serves special lifting needs in a range of sectors that
include commercial and municipality construction, oil and gas,
railroad, military and government,” says Rooke.
INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
Manitex was founded in 1993, incorporated in 2003 and went
public in 2006. What began in North America is spreading
throughout the world. About two years ago, the appropriately
named Manitex International initiated plans to target an increas-
ing number of global markets.
“Historically, Manitex has been a North America-centric busi-
ness, but starting around 2008, we began driving in the direction
of international diversification, which is making us more of a
global business,” say Rooke, who joined the company in January
2007. “A lot of activity has been within the United Arab Emirates
and in Saudi Arabia. In that world region, we secured the serv-
ices of a very good dealer who leveraged our attributes and
applied them to the construction and the oil and gas industries.”
As such, a healthy and growing portion of the company’s rev-
enues now come from outside of North America, and success in
this global direction is underscored by a recent announcement.
In June 2010 Manitex revealed that it received new orders that
totaled approximately $5 million. About 25 percent of the orders
involved international customers.
“Also, about $4 million of the orders were for boom truck
cranes, and a good chunk involved our export business,” says
Rooke. Another $1 million was for specialized military handling
products, he adds.
ACQUISITIONS AND GROWTH
As Rooke earlier indicated, Manitex International’s roots are in
North America. The company rapidly grew via an aggressive
acquisition strategy. In 2009, Manitex made two major acquisi-
tions that brought additional specialized engineering products
into the organization and increased its market share. In July of
that year, through a stock purchase, Manitex acquired the Badger
Equipment Company, a Winona, Minnesota-based manufacturer
of specialized rough terrain cranes and material handling prod-
ucts. “That took us into a related but new sector,” Rooke points
out. “We recognized the chance to get into a new market, and we
seized the opportunity.”
Then, in December 2009, the company acquired the operating
assets of Load King Trailers, an Elk Point, South Dakota-based
manufacturer of specialized engineered trailers and hauling sys-
tems typically used for transporting heavy equipment.
In June of 2010, further underscoring its global push, Manitex
announced that its newly formed Italian subsidiary, CVS Ferrari,
SRL, entered into an agreement to operate – on an exclusive
rental basis – the business of CVS SpA, a Milan-based designer
and manufacturer of a wide range of reach stackers and related
lifting equipment that serves the global container market
through an extensive dealer network.
HIGHLY FOCUSED ENTERPRISE
All of this helped Manitex International to carve out its “niche,” so
to speak, which includes a significant market share. “Only a lim-
ited number of manufacturers get involved in the particular niches
we cover,” observes Rooke. “But we compete against some very
large players, yet we’ve been able to succeed because of our recent
acquisitions, as well as our strong focus on our core activities.”
One of the company’s key differentiators is that it targets (in
quite specific fashion) its customers’ requirements. Further, by
targeting specific niches, Manitex possesses a sharper focus
than some of its competitors and, in turn, is better able to respond
to customers’ needs.
Appropriately, its manufacturing approach is quite focused,
too. “We try and hone in on what we perceive are our most sig-
nificant advantages, which involves equipment assembly, thus
we do a limited amount of fabrication, which varies from loca-
tion to location, depending on where we believe our expertise is
required in the process,” explains Rooke.
The company’s locations include its boom truck business that
operates in a facility in Georgetown, Texas. The subsidiary man-
ufactures and then markets a comprehensive line of boom trucks
and sign cranes through a national and international dealership
network, according to the company. The boom truck and crane
products find application in industrial projects, energy explo-
ration and infrastructure development, including roads, bridges,
and commercial construction.
“Then, our principle material handling operation, located just
outside of Toronto, Canada, is home to our Liftking business,”
adds Rooke. This Liftking subsidiary came into the fold follow-
ing a 2006 acquisition. Established in 1968, Liftking became well
known for its line of heavy-duty, straight-mast, rough terrain
MANITEX INTERNATIONAL INC. IS A LEADING MATERIAL HANDLING
SOLUTIONS PROVIDER GROWING IN PHYSICAL SIZE, PRODUCT
PORTFOLIO AND REPUTATION. “NICHE” OFFERINGS INCLUDE BOOM
TRUCKS, ROUGH TERRAIN CRANES AND FORKLIFTS, AMONG OTHERS.
THE ILLINOIS COMPANY HAS ALREADY CAPTURED A SIGNIFICANT
PORTION OF ITS NORTH AMERICAN MARKETS. NOW IT’S ENLARGING ITS
INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE.