New owner for Hy-Brid Lifts

Turkish construction, agricultural and energy related equipment manufacturing group, Asko Holding, has acquired a majority stake in US aerial lift manufacturer Custom Equipment/Hy-Brid Lifts.

Asko also owns Turkish aerial lift manufacturer ELS and telehandler manufacturer MST, it also distributes Claas and Doosan/Develon equipment in Turkey. In total it operates eight companies. The idea behind the acquisition is that as part of Asko Holding, Hy-Brid will expand its product range by branding some of the group’s other equipment, presumably for the North American market.
A Hy-Brid self-propelled lift

Custom Equipment was owned by Strated-Cambridge group, a small private equity firm from Plymouth, Michigan, that acquired an 80 percent stake in Custom Equipment/Hy-Brid in 2017 from Steve Kissinger and his family.

Hy-Brid chief executive Jay Sugar said: “The next chapter for Hy-Brid Lifts has started with this partnership with Asko. We see this as a great opportunity for our customers as we will be bringing new products to the market, accelerating R&D and increasing our sales and service support.”

Asko founder and chairman Sami Konukoğlu added: “We are very excited to welcome Hy-Brid Lifts and its skilled employees into the Asko family. With Hy-Brid Lifts’ track record of producing innovative high quality products and having an established dealer network, this investment fits into our strategy to become a global player and expand in North America.”

Custom Equipment was established in 1981 by Steve and Lynn Kissinger as a fabrication and welding repair business in West Bend, Wisconsin. It then designed and manufactured the ‘2-in-1’ scissor lift for use in mausoleums. In 2004 it started manufacturing scissor lifts for the construction and industrial markets, including the HB-1030 Hy-Brid lift and expanded steadily year on year, adding its Richfield headquarters and assembly plant in 2010.
The Asko line up

Vertikal Comment

It is hard to say if this move is good, bad or indifferent. Asko appears to be a well run business that nurtures the companies that it owns, without too much corporate interference, key ingredients to a successful acquisition. If so this could work out well for both parties.

Acquiring the Hy-Brid brand and applying it to ELS machines in North America makes good business sense. Trying to establish the ELS branded machines in the USA would be a very long and expensive slog, with no guarantee of success. In one fell swoop this deal provides Asko with a well-established north American distribution set-up and strong well established brand, while also gaining some additional low level products which can be sold under the ELS brand in countries where ELS is well established and has good coverage.

On balance - potentially - a positive move.