Orlando, FL – PCE Investment Bankers announces the recent recapitalization of Crane Rental Corp., one of the country’s leading crane rental, hauling and rigging services. The partnership with Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Co. Inc. (HKW), a private equity firm, will enable Crane Rental, a family-owned and operated business, to continue to expand and grow in response to increasing demand.
Debt financing was provided by PNC and Babson Capital, the mezzanine funding arm of MassMutual. PCE Investment Bankers, a leading investment bank for middle market companies, initiated the transaction and served as financial advisor.
Crane Rental, recently ranked as the 19th largest crane rental company in the U.S. by American Crane and Transport, provides equipment and services to companies in the power, industrial and commercial construction sectors. The recent acquisition of two Manitowoc 18000s by Crane Rental not only expanded its fleet but greatly enhanced its capabilities. The Manitowoc 18000 has a lifting capacity of 825 tons and is one of the most sought after cranes for heavy industrial construction projects.
Founded in 1960, the Orlando-headquartered Crane Rental is a leading provider of equipment and services for projects requiring heavy lifting, rigging and hauling. Power plant construction and maintenance, industrial manufacturing, office buildings, theme parks and infrastructure development are among Crane Rental’s clients.
Pete Ashlock, founder of the company that has become one of the largest and most prominent crane rental firms in the country, professionally established himself with early successes at Disney World and with NASA’s Apollo mission launch complexes. In 2006, Crane Rental received the Specialized Carrier & Rigging Association’s Hauling Job of the Year award. Under the current leadership of Alan Ashlock, second generation family owner, Crane Rental has expanded beyond serving the Southeast market to become a nationally ranked company that continues to excel at safety, service and providing innovative equipment for the most complex projects. By recapitalizing, Crane Rental has even greater financial resources to excel as an industry leader.
“One of the most appealing aspects of a partnership with HKW is their reputation for assisting strong companies with their next level of growth while allowing existing leadership to continue in current roles,” said Ashlock. “It was important for us to be able to continue delivering the same quality service along with maintaining our exemplary safety standards.” Ashlock observed that partnering with HKW will give Crane Rental the additional financial strength to aggressively fuel its growth and maintain its inventory of state-of-the-art equipment. “We just agreed to purchase one of the largest production built cranes in the world, the Manitowoc 31000. This will increase our ability to serve the power industry in all facets including the expected expansion into nuclear power. This piece of equipment is the largest purchase Crane Rental has ever made, with the price exceeding our capital expenditures for the last two years,” said Ashlock.
“The shareholders of Crane Rental had very specific goals as we entered this process. We had been approached by numerous investors and suitors in the past and none were the right fit. PCE’s process enabled us to evaluate different alternatives and decide on the right path for not only the shareholders, but the employees and customers of Crane Rental as well, all of this being done in the midst of a challenging economic environment and tight credit markets.”
PCE Investment Bankers, a Florida-based firm offering a full range of investment banking services, was instrumental in identifying the ideal private equity firm to partner with the family-owned business. “Alan has positioned his company to take advantage of the market strength in heavy industrial and infrastructure construction. In the power generation and maintenance sector alone there are decades of work and $100s of billions in projects to complete,” John Eckbert of PCE Investment Bankers.
HKW has made multiple investments in the equipment rental sector including the recent investments in NESCO and Airworx Construction Equipment and Supply. In addition, their investments in the power and energy sector include Total Equipment and Service, S.A. Robotics, C&J Spec-Rent Services and the recent acquisition of Contract Land Staff. “Not all investors are created equal. In addition to deep pockets, HKW brings experience and national relationships in the equipment rental and power generation industries,” said PCE’s Michael Rosendahl. “They’re the perfect fit for Crane Rental and allowed the shareholders to take some chips off the table.”
About Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Co., Inc. : HKW is a private equity firm founded in 1903 and headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana with offices in New York, Chicago and Shanghai. Over the past 25 years, HKW has sponsored 33 platform management buyouts of small middle-market companies throughout North America as well as 37 add-on acquisitions. For further information about HKW and its portfolio companies, investment strategy, and team, please visit www.hkwinc.com.
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