23.08.2019

McNally sells Windhoist

Private equity firm Star Capital Partnership has acquired Irish crane and wind turbine installation group Windhoist from owner and chief executive Hugh McNally for an undisclosed sum.

The company was established by Dan McNally in Ireland in 1958, with a focus on agricultural contracting and rail decommissioning projects. In the 1972 the company purchased its first crane, and was incorporated as Dan McNally Ltd in 1984. In 1996 a new generation of managers began taking the company into heavy cranes and lifting and in 1999 carried out its first wind turbine installation job, using a 400 tonne crane to erect 600kW turbines for Vestas. The company rebranded this part of the business as Windhoist as it began to become increasingly important. Today the group operates as two principal businesses - McNally’s Crane Hire operating from Monaghan and Dublin in Ireland and Windhoist based in Scotland.

Scottish crane rental company Forsyth of Denny, which Windhoist acquired in late 2016, which operates from locations in Easterton and Irvine, was separated from the group last year and will continue to be owned by the McNallys

Since getting into the market in 1999 Windhoist has become one of the leading companies in the global wind turbine installation business, having completed projects as far away as Australia and the Falkland Islands and claims to have erected more than 6,000 turbines in that time. See 2011 Cranes & Access visit and interview

Group revenues are said to be in the region of €90 million. The last accounts filed for the UK business show revenues of £47.4 million, with a pre-tax profit of £496,000.

London-based Star Capital has a range of investments in the logistics sector and at one time owned civil engineering and ship building company Blohm + Voss. It currently owns Twinwoods Heat & Power - a UK based power generator company - and recently acquired ASL Aviation - a Dublin based aviation services and logistics company.

As part of the acquisition Hugh McNally has stepped down as chief executive and leaves the company, he is replaced by Tim Adams a consultant who has been working with the company during the acquisition/due diligence process that has been ongoing over the past six months. He has a background in construction/contracting, the marine construction business and renewable energy.
His brief is to 'work closely with the experienced team at Windhoist to develop and grow the business into the future.'

Star managing partner Uniti Bhalla said: “We are delighted to have acquired Windhoist which we believe is an excellent platform with a long history and a reputation for high quality and technical and commercial innovation. Under Star’s ownership, Windhoist will continue to demonstrate its commitment to the sector and will invest in expanding into adjacent service areas and markets, alongside its customers, both on and offshore.”

In a letter to employees from Adams and Bhalla they said: “We believe this is an exciting opportunity for us as owners but also for all the staff at Windhoist to embark on the next stage of the Windhoist Group’s journey and we look forward to working closely with everyone to realise what we view to be its very significant potential. Our investment in the group will continue beyond our initial purchase and will be aimed at enhancing all the key resources and competences of the business, ranging from investment in new plant and equipment to the critical training and development of personnel at all levels.”

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