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Tractel takes Scanclimber

Suspended access company Tractel has confirmed the pending acquisition of Finnish mastclimber manufacturer Scanclimber. No details of the transaction have been disclosed.

Scanclimber manufactures in Poland and employs 225, while Tractel increasingly specialises in temporary and permanent suspended platforms having also made its name with the Tirfor manually operated winch and rope tensioning equipment. In addition to acquiring Scanclimber’s rack and pinion technology and mastclimber products, Tractel hopes to benefit from Scanclimber’s Nordic customer/dealer base and a local management team.
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A Tractel/Secalt permanent facade cradle

Luxembourg based Tractel was itself acquired by private equity firm Cinven in October 2015 and had previously added work at height safety product company Knot to the business. As a result of Tractel’s strong financial performance under Cinven’s ownership, the group is to undertake a full refinancing of the business in conjunction with the Scanclimber acquisition, to be led by BNP Paribas, HSBC and Crédit Agricole CIB.

Tractel chief executive Philippe Gastineau said: “Scanclimber represents a strategic and synergistic move for Tractel. The transaction offers the opportunity for Tractel to grow in the attractive mastclimbing work platform and the rack-and-pinion hoist segments. It will also strongly increase the group’s presence in the Nordics. We are looking forward to working with Eerik Nousiainen and the rest of the Scanclimber management to integrate the company within Tractel and build on each other’s strengths.”
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Scanclimber's new SC10000 Centum mastclimber

Scanclimber was originally a Polish company, established by the state in 1964 as Zremb. In 1967 the company purchased a manufacturing license from Alimak for personal and material lifts. When the business was privatised it changed its name to Fada Gniezno and then in 1995 began manufacturing mast climbing work platforms for Scaninter Nokia. Scaninter Nokia acquired a majority stake in Fada in 1999 and changed the name to Scanclimber. Scaninter Nokia acquired all of the shares in 2005 and in 2008 changed the group name to Scanclimber.

Vertikal Comment

This move is a good fit for Tractel’s expansion plans, while Scanclimber will benefit from more resources, greater coverage and hopefully financial stability - although this will depend on the details of the refinancing programme that Tractel is working on in order to pay for Scanclimber. It will probably load more debt onto the business, while providing a payback for Cinven, no problem as long as it is not too aggressive/excessive.

Strategically the move is also interesting in that it follows the massive move into the suspended platform and permanent platform installation market by mastclimber and hoist specialist Alimak last year, with the acquisition of Façade Access See Alimak acquires Façade Access and Avanti. See Alimak acquires Avanti.

Expect both the mastclimber and suspended platform markets to become more competitive and intense. Interesting times