FTD, which sells over 100 new Doosan forklifts each year, acquired the sales, hire and service company for Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and London following the untimely death of previous owner Darren White.
The business will continue to support a wide customer base, however the deal excludes the UK TCM importership, T.C Maintenance Limited, which has been wound up.
Established in 1977, United Lift Trucks has a strong local presence, growing from humble beginnings in Copdock, on the outskirts of Ipswich into a £1m business with strong ambitions.
The acquisition by FTD will help the business to consolidate the gains already made, explains, managing director, Mike Dixon, and open new doors across the Southeast and East Anglia:
“Naturally we wish the deal was completed under better circumstances. Darren was a close friend of ours and sadly missed. We are, however, extremely pleased to be able to acquire United, securing the future of the team and ensuring the business continues to grow and develop.”
Having received a six figure investment from Doosan in 2011, FTD has set about increasing its annual turnover, currently in excess of £5m, up 35 percent on last year. Investments in IT and workshop facilities have already been completed, as well as new additions to the sales team and an expanded hire fleet.
Fork Truck Direct’s senior management team has been with the business since the beginning over 15 years ago. What began as a predominantly service based operation has grown into a highly regarded modern materials handling business. Working with leading businesses in London and East Anglia, the company has developed a strong reputation as both a sales and service operation.
“This deal would not have been possible without Doosan’s backing. Thanks to them, we have been able to take advantage of the great work we’ve carried out throughout our formative years,” says Mike Dixon.
“Our aim is to create an efficient and dynamic working environment for both FTD and United. Doosan’s confidence and support to a UK company like ours is a great boost, helping us to grow our short term hire fleet by over a third and sending us well on the way to achieving our overall growth plans.”
Existing and potential customers of United are being encouraged to visit FTD’s facility in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. Having been greeted by a member of the sales team on arrival, visitors can get a tour of the facilities, including the new fully equipped 12 bay workshop and the engineering shop.
Says Mike: “We are a very stable, friendly and hard-working business. Within our facility engineers carry out comprehensive refurbishment programmes on sale and rental trucks, and all types of customer repair work. Next to our workshops is the truck store, housing over 100 diesel, gas, and electric forklifts. New Doosan forklifts are also on view at our premises and there’s the opportunity to meet the Service Support team.”
Doosan meanwhile, has a well established presence around the area, although the acquisition could prove strategically important for further development in markets around Port of Felixstowe and around Ipswich, as they look to extend their product range into large capacity trucks.
Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK director and general manager, Tim Waples, welcomed the move and congratulated FTD’s efforts to expand the business.
Said Tim: “We have a lot of admiration for Fork Truck Direct, being well run, offering a superb regional service and a clear business plan. They are a credit to the Doosan network and this new acquisition is great news for both companies and their customers.”
Over 100 Doosan models are available from 1.5 to 16.0 tonnes for IC models and 1.3 to 5.0 tonnes electric models.