A large, defunct crane company is gearing up for a second act. Pompano Beach, Fla.-based General Crane USA’s liquidation plan received final court approval on Dec. 17.
Newly formed Allegiance Crane & Equipment LLC, Pompano Beach, Fla., paid $40 million for properties and equipment. The firm secured financial backing from Southlake, Texas-based Prophet Equity. General Crane managing partner James A. Robertson is now president of Allegiance Crane & Equipment.
The company expanded aggressively during the building boom, spending $65 million for new equipment between 2006 and 2007 while expanding into new markets. As the economy tanked and credit lines evaporated, General Crane experienced a cash crunch, followed by creditor lawsuits totaling millions.
The company is keeping more than 100 General Crane employees and will pursue work in the South and Southeast.
“You need to have balance in today’s world. It’s a difficult process,” Robertson says. “We’re also looking to grow through acquisitions of other companies. We are going to substantially grow in the next three years.”
General Crane’s business rival, Lewis Crane & Hoist LLC, is in liquidation. The Grand Prairie, Texas-based firm recently got bankruptcy court approval to sell six tower cranes to Neremat Hong Kong Ltd. for $850,000 to pay down debt. But the deal could take time. Frost National Bank is foreclosing on Lewis properties in Grand Prairie and Houston. Neremat will get 25% of the cranes’ contracted rental value until projects are complete, court documents say.
The court ordered Lewis to give up “all machinery, inventory and all accessories, owner’s manuals, and … records.” Lewis did not return calls for comment.
Lewis was the exclusive North American dealer for Suncrane tower cranes, Zoomlion mobile and crawler cranes, and Hercules elevators. The company spent $45.65 million for acquisitions between 2006 and 2007, including Verticon’s New Zealand tower-crane and hoist division and Zoomlion truck cranes.