Archbold, OH

Bil-Jax Purchased By French Firm; Company Sees Growth In Future

Brent Hagedorn, director of marketing and national accounts for Bil-Jax, Inc., confi rmed Friday, July 25 the local manufacturing firm has been purchased by the U.S. subsidiary of the French firm Haulotte Group.

The move could mean an expansion of the Bil-Jax factory, and new jobs.

“It all happened relatively quickly,” Hagedorn said. The transfer of ownership took place Thursday, July 24.

Haulotte is the third largest manufacturer of aerial work platforms in the world, and number one in Europe; but the company didn’t have a manufacturing facility in the United States.

Bil-Jax has been a leader in the niche aerial work platform market, and was looking to expand its product line.

“It was a good fit for the two of us,” Hagedorn said.

Haulotte approached Bil-Jax about the deal.

“They came looking for us,” he said.

“This is a huge opportunity for the continued growth and expansion of Bil-Jax,” Hagedorn said.

Possible Expansion

The acquisition of Bil-Jax by Haulotte “creates the strong potential for the expansion of the Bil-Jax product line, our facilities, and most importantly, the creation of new jobs,” Hagedorn said.

“All of this comes as being very promising when most businesses are exporting manufacturing and jobs,” he said.

Bil-Jax has room in the plant for one more production line after things are reorganized. But the company also owns 18 undeveloped acres in the Archbold Industrial Park adjacent to the present building. The building could be expanded relatively easily.

So far there are no definite plans for expansion.

“Both companies are developing a comprehensive plan focusing on the integration of the combined business. Haulotte Group anticipates that this integration will be completed at the end of year 2008,” he said.

Global Access Market

The global access market for aerial lift platforms and other equipment is competitive and growing.

“The resulting benefits of scale, along with associated capital costs for product line expansion, contribute to a time of industry consolidation and convergence… Together, Haulotte and Bil-Jax will offer a competitive choice and better fulfill the needs of customers and partners.

“We have taken the next natural step of growth, and together, can offer an increasing exciting set of access solutions for consumers while becoming better positioned to compete in the access market,” said Jeff Ott, Bil- Jax chief executive officer.

“We believe this alliance with Haulotte Group will deliver superior value, better choices, and more innovation to our customers and industry partners. Additionally, it will increase product offering and create a position outside the U.S.,” Ott said.

The companies see advantages in several areas.

Bil-Jax will benefit from scale economics, driven by Haulotte’s strong market position, while Haulotte will benefit from the local company’s 60 years as a leader in scaffolding and niche aerial work platforms in North America.

The two firms will be able to integrate engineering talent and resources to accelerate product development.

Operations can be streamlined through the increased purchasing power of the larger company and elimination of some redundant costs.- David Pugh

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