UK: Manitowoc and Arcomet have signed an agreement that will see the world's largest tower crane rental company distribute Potain tower cranes in the UK.

The agreement, which comes into effect on January 1, 2006, sees the Belgian rental giant offer the entire range of Potain cranes to UK customers, through two new companies.

Arcomet Tower Cranes has been formed to rent and sell Potain top slewing tower cranes. Potain UK will retain certain “house” customers. Managing director of Arcomet Tower Cranes is Graham Baukham, who has more than 20 years experience in the UK tower crane rental market with companies including Select Plant Hire and the now defunct Delta Tower Cranes.

Baukham told ACT that his company was preparing to launch the rental fleet and that his aim is to target new customers to buy Potain towers.

The Igo range of Potain self erecting cranes will be sold by the second new company, Midland Crane, headed by Jerry Welford. The company will also offer self erectors for rental and launches with a fleet of 60 units.

Ladybird Crane Hire, the company Welford left to form Midland Crane, will continue to operate a rental fleet of Potain Igo cranes, and Airtek Cranes will continue to rent and sell Arcomet's range of self erecting models.

Jerry Welford said that the self erector market in the UK is “very slow” and estimated that the entire market consists of between 250 and 300 cranes. He is optimistic about the future, however, and forecast that, “it should be in the thousands in a few years.”

Arcomet's move is the latest in a series of international ventures following the purchase of the MVS Zeppelin fleet in Germany and the formation of P&J Arcomet in the US (see ACT July 05, News).

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