The issue of Demag’s ownership is now resolved. The mobile crane business has gone to Terex while Demag Cranes & Components (DCC), together with the port solutions division Gottwald and a basket of other businesses, has been bought from Siemens by institutional investor KKR.

Sadly for DCC the fact that its new owner is a group of venture capitalists, rather than someone with a long term commitment to the market means that the ownership issue is unlikely to remain stable for long. Even though KKR tends to retain ownership of its investments for longer than most venture capitalists, it is unlikely to stick around for much more than five years, and probably not that long. What can we expect in the interim? Will Demag retain its position of technological leadership? Or will R&D investment be dumped in favour of buying into new markets? Probably the latter. It is no bad thing to make hard-nosed decisions when running a business, unshackled by sentiment and tradition, but the balance between short and long term must be got right. We wish KKR luck with their investment and advise them not to think that the crane industry is just like any other. It is not, and to think that way leads to disaster.