Boels Acquires Riwal

After weeks of rumours and 'radio silence' the news has been confirmed that Dutch international general rental company Boels Rental has acquired Dutch international aerial lift and telehandler rental specialist Riwal from owner Pro-Delta.

The deal was announced this morning, but completion remains subject to certain conditions being fulfilled and in particular the approval of the relevant competition authorities. The Riwal/Manlift addition adds around €310 million in revenues to Boel’s €1.5 billion, along with 65 branches and close to 1,200 employees. This also takes Boels’ network to 830 locations across 27 countries.
Pierre Boels (L) with Doron Livnat of Riwal - owner Pro-delta

The move is Part of Boels’ growth strategy to become the largest rental company in Europe, while taking the company into new markets and massively expanding its aerial lift and telehandler fleet. In fact, the company says that the acquisition will take the combined aerial lift fleet to 55,000 units - more than 60 percent of which are electric powered.
The combined geographic coverage

A statement from Boels this morning said: “In European regions where presence overlaps, Boels and Riwal will leverage combined experience and resources. But the prospective acquisition also opens doors to new markets, like Spain and France. Where Boels can rely on a dense European network, Riwal has a global footprint with branches in, amongst others, India and Qatar. After integration Boels will be positioned for significant growth and profitability due to the increased geographical footprint and strong foundation of general rental, complemented with specialist rental divisions.”

Chief executive Pierre Boels said: “Riwal’s aerial work platforms expertise adds a new dimension to Boels’ product and service lineup. With over 60 percent of the Riwal fleet already electrified, the acquisition aligns with Boels’ commitment to sustainability. With over 55,000 platforms and additional expertise and services, we are confident in meeting the highest customer standards. Enabling us to deliver unparalleled customer service to keep our customers going."

Riwal chief executive Pedro Torres added: “The strategic fit between Boels and Riwal is impeccable from a cultural, geographical and growth opportunities perspective. The acquisition is a testament to the strength and quality of our work at Riwal and Manlift.”

Riwal was established in 1968 as Richards & Wallington International, the Dutch division of the UK based crane rental company. The general manager Dick Schalekamp bought the business in 1980, after the Richards and Wallington group ran into financial difficulties, renaming it Riwal in 1987. The current owner Doron Livnat and Pro-Delta began co-operating with the company from around this time, taking a 33 percent holding in the business in 2000. Livnat acquired the rest of the company’s equity in late 2012.

Boels was established as a small local rental company Pierre Boels senior in 1977 with products such as ladders and compressors, opening its first proper yard in Sittard in 1980. It began its expansion outside of the Netherlands with a move into Belgium in 1991 and Germany the following year. Pierre’s son Pierre junior, took over as chief executive in 1996. ~Its aerial lift fleet kicked off properly in 1998 when it added boom lifts to its fleet. In the three years between 2006 and 2009 it expanded into the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and Slovakia and Poland. Since 2012 growth has accelerated thanks to several acquisitions, taking it to the point where it is the second largest equipment rental company in Europe after Loxam.

Vertikal Comment
It is hard to know what to say here. More than anything it highlights how Europe is now following the USA with rapid consolidation of the rental industry, as a few larger rental companies take an increasingly large slice of the total market as they battle for supremacy, while smaller companies cash out and, in many cases, the owners and senior staff retire.

Unlike earlier periods of ‘consolidation’ this time there are fewer people in the business with an appetite to start up again and do it all over. At the same time the idea of starting your own rental business seems to have little, to no appeal to younger people entering the work environment.

In some industries the mega players are driven by financial factors, private equity to ‘grow grow grow’ lose their customer focus and become harder to deal with as financial managers simply focus on the quarterly numbers. While there is an element of this in the aerial lift and the crane rental industry, or even general rental business, on the whole the big companies do a pretty good job at managing the frequent acquisitions, while providing a decent national and even international quality of service. The companies that have most to fear from all this are equipment manufacturers that see buying power become more and more concentrated.

However - this is certainly a good move for Boels, and potentially a good move for Riwal staff.
Time will tell.

The video below was released by Boels this morning


I understand everyone who put a dislike, RIWAL has always been a problem for official AWP dealers and medium rental companies. A lot of questions for merger acquisition etc .If we talk about the essence of the situation, then this is a competent strategic step by RIWAL/Manlift and Doron Levant. A step that is associated with the expansion of the Chinese, which began in the Middle East.

Mar 14, 2024

It was great honour to be known with Schalekamp family. Great experience to work with most of RIWAL Top management team. These names have become legends. Best strategic and market capture thinking at awp market ever. Best ever multi brand awp resale skills .For my point of view-it’s a great investment chance and luck for Mr.Boels

Mar 11, 2024