07.10.2019

Venture capital funding for MES Cranes

South African tower crane rental company MES Cranes has received a capital injection from venture capital firm Open Window Growth Partners.

The exact nature or percentage of the investment has not been disclosed, but the previous owner and managers Walter Baur and Hermann Fender remain at the helm of the company and will be joined on the board of directors by Open Window principles Ferdi van Niekerk and Glen Dowie.

Both Baur and Fender are ex Liebherr employees. German born Baur held a number of positions with Liebherr, having started with the company as a design engineer, moving to a sales position towards the end of his time with the manufacturer. He moved to South Africa in 1967 and purchased MES in 1986. Fellow engineer Fender - whose father was a long term Liebherr employee – joined Baur in 1998 and helped shape the company’s current strategy.
(L-R) Ferdi van Niekerk, Hermann Fender, Walter Baur and Glen Dowie of MES Cranes

MES Cranes runs its own 146 crane rental fleet, but also offers a turnkey service for contractors that own their own cranes, offering to erect and dismantle them, as well as service and refurbish when required and store them in its yard when not in use. The company is based on a 10 acre site in Kempton Park, between Pretoria and Johannesburg. The facility includes 8,000 square metres of workshop space and 32,000 square metres of yard area.

Open Window also owns Open Frame tower cranes, and equipment rental business Lavasco. Other investments include several small energy companies.

van Niekerk said: “This is an incredibly exciting happening. Development in Africa is poised to take off, with rapid urbanisation and industrialisation sparking the need for high density development and improved infrastructure.”

Baur added: “These industries will receive a massive boost, and the partnership ensures that MES is ready to supply the relevant resources to clients throughout sub-Saharan Africa. We are both pleased and proud to see MES enter this new phase of development. We believe that this is the company that Africa needs right now, and we are thrilled to be able to offer our services to sub-Saharan companies that require a partner with a flexible, holistic focus. We are delighted that our tower cranes will be playing a part in building Africa’s future.”

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