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Equipment Depot Makes New Acquisition, Keeps Growing

Sat December 24, 2005 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Equipment Depot, headquartered in Waco, TX, has announced that it has acquired all three locations of the Southline Equipment company, a privately-held forklift dealership, from the Biehl Company in Houston.

As a result of the acquisition of Southline operations in Houston, Beaumont and Freeport, Equipment Depot’s combined operations now has more than 560 employees, including 270 service technicians, operating from 12 full-service facilities and four limited-service depots strategically located along the Interstate 35 corridor, the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast.

With sales and service coverage in 156 counties and annual revenues exceeding $150 million, privately-held Equipment Depot becomes one of the largest materials handling companies in Texas.

“This acquisition extends our reach into the Houston market, one of the top forklift markets in the United States,” said Don Moes, Equipment Depot’s founder and president. “With these three new full-service sales and rental locations, we now have the regional reach we need to service and support our large customers that have operations throughout Texas.”

The Southline Equipment Company has operated as a Clark lift truck dealer in Houston since 1962. In addition, Southline has been a dealer for Linde, Daewoo and Princeton forklifts for more than 10 years, and in 2002, became one of the first CombiLift dealers in the United States. It has more than 100 employees at three locations serving 25 counties along the Gulf Coast of Texas and two parishes in southwestern Louisiana.

“Southline is a very good fit for Equipment Depot,” said Bob McClelland, president of Southline. “Both companies began as Clark dealers more than 30 years ago. Both companies were built on providing service, value and integrity to their customers. Both companies believe that future market share will be built on relationships and that effort plus quality will result in satisfied customers.”

McClelland noted that Southline customers will not notice any major changes as a result of the acquisition. All of its locations will remain open and he expects the acquisition will help the company expand.

“This transaction creates a tremendous opportunity for us to grow and expand our business,” McClelland said. “Many of our forklift customers in Houston and the Gulf Coast markets have branch operations in other Texas locations currently served by Equipment Depot. As part of a regional company, it will make it easier for Southline to take care of our Texas customers.”

According to Moes, Equipment Depot is not just in the forklift business, but it also is a major construction rental company throughout the region. It already does business with regional construction companies based in Houston. Adding more rental equipment at the Southline locations could help Southline’s locations weather fluctuations in the local material handling market as well as allow Equipment Depot to deploy equipment closer to its customers in Houston and the Gulf Coast.

“Southline has very experienced managers and skilled employees who have a long history of taking care of their customers,” Moes said. “Equipment Depot will now have more than 12,000 forklifts under routine service contracts and more than 1,100 forklifts on our short-term rental fleets. Adding three additional facilities in the Houston area allows us to expand our construction equipment rental operations into that fast-growing market as well.”

Equipment Depot is one of the fastest growing material handling companies in the Southwest. This is Equipment Depot’s third major acquisition since 2002. It previously acquired Clarklift of Ft. Worth, Powr-Lift of Dallas and Sherman, and three southern Texas branches from Houston-based Mustang Equipment.

Equipment Depot operates in Texas, southwestern Louisiana and southern Oklahoma, as well as providing forklift service in northeastern Mexico along its border with Texas.

“We expect to announce additional acquisitions in the coming months,” Moes said. “The key to success in the material handling business today is to provide quality parts and fast service for all brands, and to make it affordable by keeping administrative costs very low.”

Equipment Depot is a Waco-based regional equipment company founded as Central Texas Clarklift in 1975. It changed its name to Equipment Depot in 1995 to better reflect the company’s brand expansion and new product lines. Today, the company represents more than 30 industry leading manufacturers and its race truck service vans are a familiar sight throughout Texas.

Equipment Depot is a dealer in selected markets for Barrett, Caterpillar, Clark, Combi-Lift, Daewoo, Drexel, Linde, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Princeton forklifts as well as Mobile pallet jacks. It also sells, services and rents aerial lifts built by SkyTrak, Genie, Terex and JLG, as well as light construction equipment manufactured by New Holland and Thomas. It is a major independent rental operator and has more than 2,500 late model units in its industrial and construction short-term rental fleet.

Equipment Depot also is the authorized dealer for New Holland tractor equipment in Waco and Austin. It sells and services a complete line of New Holland agricultural and turf equipment as well as attachments made by Woods, Gannon, Gill, Alamo, BushHog and BellTec.

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