Arizona based rental company Stafford Crane has acquired Portuguese tower crane manufacturer Soima Cranes.
The acquisition is intended to give family owned Stafford overall control of the design and production of tower cranes for its rental fleet, as well as unique product for its sales efforts. Soima will continue to offer its cranes, which include flat top models and two self-erectors.
Soima is also ready to launch a line of hydraulic luffing jib models, starting with the four tonne SGT 4015 LTL with a 40 metre jib with a jib tip capacity of 1,500kg. The company is also working with Stafford Crane to develop a 29 tonne 8041 flat top with an 80 metre jib, specifically for the North American market. The new model is expected to be ready for launch early next year.
Soima was established in 1977 by founder Manuel Morais and business partners Agostinho Almeida and Serafim Faro. It initially manufactured construction equipment such as plate rolling presses, overhead traveling cranes and concrete mixers, before building tower cranes in 1980. Today it has an annual capacity of 400 units, which its mainly sells in Portugal, Spain and France. In total it has built around 6,600 units over the 40 years. It is based in Canas de Senhorim, between Oporto and Lisbon.
Phoenix, Arizona based Stafford Crane was established in 1996 when Derek Stafford set up his business with a single tower crane in Dublin, Ireland. In 2004 his brother Patrick set up the American operation in Arizona. Today the company sells and rents a wide range of cranes, including mobile towers, overhead cranes and construction hoists, while also offering a range of associated services. It operates across 10 states, with depots in Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Oklahoma City and Houston. It has also expanded internationally with Stafford Gruas Torre de Mexico.
The group remains a family owned and operated business through Derek’s company Tower Crane Technical Solutions in San Diego, and brother Jack Stafford’s company Stafford Crane and Hoist Rigging in Colorado. Patrick is based at the Phoenix headquarters, along with his son, also Patrick.
Patrick Stafford said: “Soima is a perfect fit, like us it is a family owned and operated company dedicated to providing high quality and efficiency in the global crane industry. The acquisition will allow us to provide even better service to our customers in the tower crane rental industry, particularly in terms of competitive pricing and availability of cranes and replacement parts. Designing and manufacturing the cranes and parts gives us control of the entire customer experience which will save our customers money directly on pricing and indirectly by avoiding delays.”
“The new Soima 8041 is a tower crane designed by rental industry professionals. It will be offered at a highly competitive price point compared to other cranes in its class. Between its value and our post purchase customer service, including our team of experienced technicians and stocked parts, I believe the 8041 will quickly gain significant market share.”
Manuel Morais of Soima added: "Stafford Crane is the preferred partner to carry on the Soima legacy. The Stafford's are the right fit to take Soima to the next level. They have global experience and are highly focused on growth and customer satisfaction. We know they will help with the evolution of Soima.”
Manufacturing is a totally different business and mentality to selling and renting cranes, acquisitions between the two sectors rarely ends well. However when it comes the tower cranes there are some successful examples, such as Germany’s Wolffkran and to a much lesser extent Wilbert – now owned by Zoomlion.
Soima is a decent company, but while it does sell its cranes worldwide, it has never really broken out of the Franco-Iberian market. It will be very interesting to see how this now develops under Stafford ownership.