Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  31 Oct 2008

EMPOWERMENT: Target Cranes Get a Lift


Recent Western Cape Business News

SPHERE, a black owned and managed private equity and investment firm, has purchased a 32.5% shareholding in up and coming mobile crane hire company Target Cranes. Target is the largest mobile crane hire operator in the Western Cape region and the third largest operator in the country, with a fleet consisting of 63 mobile cranes incorporating lifting capacities from 8 tons to 600 tons.

As projects in the power, mining, petrochemical and infrastructure sectors in South Africa grow in size and become more technical in nature every year, larger cranes and larger fleets to complete the required lifts are needed. Examples include the size and technical demands of projects such as the new stadia for the Fifa World Cup, as well as long-term projects in the power-generation sector. The fact that projects need to be fast-tracked in order to keep up with the growing economy means that larger, more complex and more expensive cranes are needed.

Sphere says it recognised Target’s excellent positioning to take advantage of such developments in terms of the crane operator’s number and size of cranes which allow for turnkey services for substantial projects. Target’s forecast of the need for increased capacity in 2005 led to the ordering of additional cranes for the fleet, leaving the crane operator well-positioned as other operators struggle to obtain additional cranes during the current global crane shortage.

Additions to its fleet include a Liebherr LG 1550, which has a maximum lifting capacity to 550 tons and is one of only eight in the world, the addition of another Liebherr LTM 1400 (440 ton crane), another LTM 1220 (220 ton crane), as well as smaller cranes ranging in size from 180 to 30 tons. Following delivery of existing orders it is likely that Target will be the second largest crane hire operator on a national basis by total lifting capacity in the next 12 months, offering the newest fleet in the country with an average age of seven years.

Says Matt Jack of Target, “The introduction of Sphere as a strategic shareholder will enhance our competitive offering in the market. Sphere has extensive networks in the industrial services sector, and considerable expertise. Given that many of Sphere’s other investments in the sector are in Gauteng, its shareholding will also position Target well for entry into the Gauteng market. The process of selecting an empowered investment partner was a stringent one for us, and we’re confident that Sphere is a good strategic fit with us.”

Founded in 1998 by Michael Wall, Target Cranes is today one of the largest mobile crane hire operations in the country. The basis of this growth has been the focus on reliability, through stringent maintenance and service provision on the growing fleet, customer service and increasing demand from the construction, petrochemicals and marine sectors. The fleet is one of the most modern in the country with 14 cranes purchased in recent months. The company is focused on growing its dominance in the Western Cape region into the industrial areas of Gauteng.

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