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Kalmar sells rough terrain lift truck business to leveraged MBO

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has signed an agreement to sell its rough terrain handling business, Kalmar Rough Terrain Center, to the management and a Texas-based investment group, led by Independent Bankers Capital Funds (IBCF) and Congruent Investment Partners, LLC

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Kalmar Rough Terrain Center is a specialised manufacturer of rough terrain material handling equipment for the defense and commercial markets. It is also a manufacturer and distributor of parts and a service provider to existing equipment. Its portfolio includes the RT240 Rough Terrain Container Handler and the RT022 Light Capability Rough Terrain Forklift that are specially built to military standards, with a proven ability to provide exceptional container handling in the toughest environments, as well as the RT290 Rough Terrain Container Handler for commercial operations. KRTC is headquartered in Cibolo, Texas, US, and its facility includes four buildings on 13.3 acres.

A Kalmar RT 240 RTCH deployed by the British Army
A Kalmar RT 240 RTCH deployed by the British Army

The original RT reach stacker was developed by Kalmar and the US military a number of years ago and multiple orders from the US and other NATO armed forces were built in Lidhult, Sweden before production and design were transferred to the US.


Last year Cibolo took some flak from a rival for US military contracts, Hoist, on the basis that competition should be opened up and the military should specify more US content. This has probably not influenced Kalmar’s decision to sell, but it does beg a question about the new owners’ procurement strategy.


"This transaction follows Kalmar’s strategy to focus on container ports, heavy industry and distribution segments,” said Antti Kaunonen, President of Kalmar. “The rough terrain handling business is outside these core areas. Furthermore, KRTC operates to a large extent as a stand-alone business with limited synergies with the rest of Kalmar."


"After a strong period of ownership by Kalmar, we are thrilled to begin our next chapter as an independently owned and operated small business, based in Cibolo, Texas," commented Stephen Speakes, President and CEO, KRTC. "The management’s partnership with IBCF and Congruent positions the company very well to excel in the future. The combination of our operating strengths in rough terrain with their broad industry expertise and strong financial backing will allow the company to maintain a robust core base while aggressively pursuing growth opportunities.


“We think this is not only a win for the employees, customers and vendors of the company, but also the broader San Antonio and Central Texas markets. We’d like to thank Kalmar for their support through this process and their stewardship as owners."


Barry Conrad, Managing Partner of IBCF, said: "We, as a Texas based Small Business Investment Company, consider it an honor to partner with the very talented management team and employees of KRTC as they embark on their next phase of growth as a Texas owned small business."


Travis Baldwin, Managing Member of Congruent, stated: "We’re excited to partner with IBCF and the management in acquiring KRTC. We believe the platform is built to thrive, on both the military and commercial sides, under Stephen’s leadership and as a standalone, domestically-owned small business. This continues Congruent’s strategy of aligning with best-in-class management teams to build and grow businesses in the lower middle market."


The Cibolo plant has also been used to manufacture Kalmar DCG90-180 series FLTs. It is not known if production will continue under license or be transferred elsewhere.

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