Crane firm hits new heights in takeover

David Holder, general manager at HTC Plant Limited, Sheffield,.
David Holder, general manager at HTC Plant Limited, Sheffield,.
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A booming Sheffield crane rental company has been snapped up by German firm promising to spend millions on new equipment.

HTC Plant was bought by tower crane manufacturer Wolffkran after turnover rose from £37m to £44m in the last year.

The 370-strong company - newly named HTC Wolffkran - is based on Grange Mill Lane beside the M1 near Junction 34.

It is famous for its ‘Christmas Cranes’, a festive beacon on the South Yorkshire skyline every December since 2003.

HTC has used Wolff cranes - made by its new owner - for 40 years.

General manager Dave Holder, who joined aged 15 in 1981, said it was ‘business as usual’ following the takeover.

He added: “We were told to keep up the good work. It’s fantastic for us, investment under the previous owners was slow coming forward.

“Now we have been promised millions of euros to buy more modern cranes which will mean more business and more staff.

“Wolffkran is buying into our expertise and procedures which they say will enhance the group.”

HTC has 85 per cent of its fleet on hire - about 170 cranes - some 130 in London. Rental rates have “improved considerably” since the recession, Dave Holder added.

Only 26 per cent of its cranes were out on jobs in 2010. The same year thieves hunting for scrap metal cost them £500,000.

The company helped to build Meadowhall, Don Valley Stadium and Sheffield’s Velocity Towers.

The acquisition creates a group with 750 rental cranes across the world.

Dr Peter Schiefer, chief executive and owner of Wolffkran: “The acquisition is a big step for us, but a very logical one.

“It’s totally in line with our global strategy of manufacturing, selling, renting and providing crane services.

“With HTC we are taking an experienced and highly motivated management team and an extremely skilled work force on board.

“And the solid UK construction market was just another driver for our decision.“