KCI Konecranes has acquired the assets of German crane company Kulicke and taken a 25% stake in the Italian industrial crane and service company PRIM Spa.

Konecranes’ previous entries to the German market, the largest in Europe, have been through the acquisition of MAN SWF in 1997 and Trost & Hilterhaus at the end of 1998. These companies operate mainly within the Standard Lifting Equipment business area. The maintenance services activities of both companies have since been consolidated into one operation under the name Pro Kran Service, headquartered in Feldkirchen near Munich.

The Kulicke acquisition takes Konecranes into the German market for heavy duty industrial cranes – part of its Special Cranes business area – and strengthens its’ service operations in northern Germany.

Kulicke has a crane company in Tegel, Berlin and two service companies: one in Köpenick, Berlin and one in Schwedt. Founded in 1986, it has sales of more than DM25m ($13m) and about 110 employees.

PRIM signed up as a Konecranes licensee last year. Italy is Europe’s second largest crane market, and Konecranes has secured the right to increase its shareholding in PRIM in the future. A full takeover at some future date, therefore, cannot be ruled out.

The Italian company will be part of the Konecranes’ Standard Lifting Equipment business area.

Konecranes said that PRIM, with factories 80km north of Milan, had delivered more than 10,000 cranes and hoists since 1926 when it was established. It has several hundred cranes in its service contract base and has 65 employees.

As a major shareholder, Kone- cranes plans to develop PRIM’s service and sales network and strengthen its market position.

“PRIM’s strong presence as a supplier of lifting equipment to industries requiring explosion proof componentry fits also well into KCI Konecranes’ earlier investments into explosion proof technology,” Konecranes said.

The PRIM deal was announced in December and the Kulicke acquisition was completed the following month.