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Skyking closes

UK based King Vehicle Engineering, the manufacturer of specialist trailers, traffic management vehicles, road rail equipment and traffic messaging systems is to close its Skyking aerial work platform operation and exit the aerial lift market.

We understand that Skyking director Richard Martin has already left the company along with operations/service manager Dan Glaze, while staff dedicated exclusively to the Skyking business have either been given notice, or will transfer to other parts of the King group.

The King companies have been owned by the HW Martin Group since 2016 when it acquired the business from Mark Carrington who was looking to retire. See King Acquired It is the dealer for Palfinger truck mounted lifts, but not the Palfinger Italy truck mounts and spider lifts which are handled by CPL. It was many years the GSR dealer, but they parted company a few years back and Skyking replaced it with Isoli.
Shortly after the acquisition the company announced an expansion programme See Skyking to expand and added a new service centre in Birtley, Tyne & Wear. It also became the exclusive dealer for Ascendant, and then Isoli.

Skyking has handled Palfinger truck mounted lifts since 2000 when it was appointed by Wumag, as it was then Palfinger acquired Wumag in June 2008 and retained Skyking as its distributor.

Skyking posted revenues of £2.1 million last year with a pre-tax loss of £127,600. When it was acquired three years ago the Skyking business had revenues in the region of £10 million.

The following received from HW Martin group.
The King Group of Companies have taken the decision to exit the access platform industry and , as such, Skyking Limited will be pursuing a voluntary and solvent wind up of its activities. Skyking shall continue to provide a new sales, aftersales and parts service on behalf of Palfinger GmbH until alternative arrangements are in place and customers should continue to use their usual Skyking contacts

Vertikal Comment

This is sad news, while Skyking had its up and downs over the years, it has been a constant in the relatively small independent UK aerial lift distribution business, with a good deal of experience.
Palfinger and Isoli will of course now be considering their options, one possibility for Palfinger is to go with Klubb-owned CPL which has very little product overlap, but they may well prefer to consider some form of wholly owned distribution possibly recruiting some of the experienced staff leaving Skyking?

Alternatively there might be an opportunity for someone to see if there is a potential to bring Böcker UK and Palfinger together in some form of shared cranes and access distribution operation?

We did contact HW Martin and King for further confirmation and comment, but have not heard anything back from either of them yet. We will of course update this item if and when they do, or we learn more.


The realist
With increasing numbers of suppliers and reducing margins, many European manufacturers believe they can or need to have a greater direct involvement in the key accounts in the UK market, as was the case with GSR causing Skyking to resign the account. Good dealers invest in overheads but know the local market well. It’s a real shame that HWMartins excellent financial muscle and Ascendants technical ability couldn’t have formed a strong partnership. As for PALFINGER Germany, I suspect long lead times and their desire for Skyking to carry all the risk on stock orders may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. A great partnership broken from which both companies will suffer I’m sure

Nov 18, 2019
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