Impact Handling is expanding into the West Midlands following its acquisition of Birmingham-based Abex. The purchase of this long-established materials handling firm provides Impact Handling with the perfect foundation from which to grow into one of the UK’s largest industrial areas.
The deal is a key part of Impact Handling’s strategy to strengthen its network coverage as the sole distributor for Cat® Lift Trucks in the UK and Ireland. The Birmingham site becomes the 11th Impact Handling depot and follows the opening of a new facility in Manchester in March 2013, with further coverage supported by strategic dealer partners.
Terry Kendrew, Managing Director of Impact Handling, says: "We couldn’t have found a business better suited to join our network and represent the Cat Lift Trucks brand. There are strong synergies between Abex and Impact Handling; like us, Abex is focused on local engagement with customers in similar sectors, they have skilled and experienced staff and provide the full suite of sales, maintenance, parts and short term rental services."
Abex, which was established in 1966 and entered the forklift truck market in 1987, will continue to use its strong local trading name and will operate as a subsidiary to Impact Handling. The lease on Abex’s existing 7,000ft2 facility in Cato Street, Birmingham, has been secured until at least 2019, and the company’s 25 staff will remain to run the business unit.
Martin Connop, former Managing Director of Abex, is working closely with Impact Handling during the initial implementation period. He says: "Customers will continue to deal with the same staff in the depot, and we’re absolutely focused on making sure the only changes customers see are positive."
The new ownership enables Abex to offer the complete Cat® lift trucks range, replacing a previous agreement with another manufacturer. Abex will also retain its dealership of Combilift machines for the long-load handling market – a brand already offered by Impact Handling. It will also continue to sell its innovative MAP3 mobile access platform, which won a Fork Lift Truck Association award for safety in 2010.
Plus, through Impact Handling, Abex will benefit from access to a comprehensive line-up of complementary products making it a true ‘one-stop-shop’ in terms of product supply and aftercare. This includes heavy-duty forklifts, articulated forklift trucks, industrial cleaning equipment and cranes.
Kendrew adds: "One of the key advantages for Abex customers will be our increased product range, speed of response and flexibility. As a national supplier we can provide access to significant stocks of new and used equipment, an extensive short-term rental fleet, plus in-house transport nationwide, which can be key for multi-sited customers."
The acquisition, completed for an undisclosed sum, was supported by Impact Handling’s South African parent company Eqstra Holdings.
"Acquisitions are a key part of our growth strategy alongside the organic development of existing depots and our strong track record for winning new business," explains Kendrew. "It’s an exciting time for Impact Handling as we continue to expand, supported by a parent company keen to invest in overseas business development.
"Over the coming months we will be working hard to ensure we continue to deliver an excellent and competitive service to all of our customers. Plus we remain active in looking for future opportunities that will complement our existing operations and support our growth."
Abex currently supplies more than 350 machines on rental in the West Midlands, plus maintains a further 600 assets owned directly by customers.