REEL Acquires Crane Services

French industrial/overhead crane and platform specialist REEL has acquired UK based overhead crane company Crane Services.

The transaction follows the desire by Crane Services owner and managing director Rob Lewis, 61, to retire. The agreement follows several months of negotiations and completed yesterday. REEL says that it will retain the Crane Services brand and its Stourbridge offices, workshops and 13 employees. The French company already has a UK service operation REEL(UK) in Reading, Berkshire, which employs 12.

Crane Services has operated in the UK’s overhead lifting industry for over 55 years, providing a range of products and services from repair and maintenance, design, manufacture and a full range of electrical solutions including its Flex Radio Control system. Lewis will assist the merger of the two companies over the next 12 months – no financial details of the deal have been disclosed.

REEL was founded in 1945 and has revenues approaching €500 million, it is a truly industrial lifting and access business with a strong focus on the nuclear power, aviation, offshore, Metals and defense sectors. It employs 1,800 worldwide.

Lewis said: “I am at that stage in life where I want to enjoy my retirement. I have always wanted to travel. Now that I’m 61, I feel it’s time while I am young and fit enough to enjoy it. I have for some time been thinking about succession. The lifting equipment industry is far more complex and technically challenging than it was when I started all those years ago. It’s time for a younger generation to take the Company forward.”

“I knew that in order to find a buyer that shared the ethics and values that are ingrained within the Crane Services brand, I had to take a proactive approach. I didn’t want the business to lose it’s heritage, identity and soul. As a business, we are far more than just a set of figures. We fill a gap in the market. There will always be a customer that requires a more specialist application and that’s where we excel. We are strong on mechanical design, the development of control systems and have huge expertise in electrical solutions. It’s all of these features that set us apart.”

“Having made the decision that it was the right time to sell, I couldn’t have been a better match. REEL is a French family run business with similar ethics and values to us here at Crane Services. All of their products and solutions are bespoke and they operate in similar markets to us, but on a far larger scale. Eager to expand their UK operations, we were the ideal fit. It already feels like they are our long lost parents.”

REEL (UK) managing director Howard Dixon added: “We are both delighted and excited by our acquisition. Crane Services has a great heritage in the UK. It is our goal to continue providing the highest level of service during this time and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with our customers. REEL has a unique range of globally recognized products and services and we look forward to introducing them to you. We have extensive engineering resources to help you to develop solutions for complex, and challenging handling requirements which are often required in hazardous areas: offering this service is certainly a feature of our future plans in the UK “

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