CES Italian rebirth
The Verona-based company became independent from its former German parent company – under liquidation since last February – and recovered its production of “versatile” reach stackers
After the separation from its German parent company – under liquidation – CES Italy resumed its reach stackers production, launched three years ago by the Huthloff family, on an autonomous basis.
Various sources report internal disagreements about the business strategic vision between the founder Robert, boasting 50 years of experience with the German companies Mafo and FHS (that shut down as well), and his 40-year old son Nicolas, who left the company and moved to South Africa.
Last February, CES Containerhandling Equipment & Solutions GmbH, manufacturing port and industrial lifting equipments and registered in 2004 in Forst (Brandenburg, Germany), was registered in the voluntary liquidation proceeding, dragging with it also its subsidiary CES Italy, established in 2015, whose liquidation will be defined shortly.
As a matter of fact, bankruptcy does not involve the production plant in Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella (Verona), rather its German parent company, which made rather “questionable decisions”.
In particular, as concerns its financial management, they probably made inadequate and unfocused investments, their managerial salaries were too high and their promotional expenses to attend exhibitions were excessive. Moreover, although it is just a supposition not supported by facts, they are thought to have diverted funds to compensate for losses resulting from activities carried out personally by some of its shareholders and not directly related to CES, such as FHS.
While CES Italy was working hard, its German sales office turned into a corporate structure with twelve employees, including a service department which was too costly compared to the few machineries sold so far and given the fact that this start-up company had been recently founded, thus squandering most of the profits achieved.
Moreover, upon the cessation of its activities, they had already virtually sold 3 more machineries but, as guarantee conditions were no longer satisfied by the German parent company, purchasers changed their minds, thus losing the related orders.
However, having become independent from its German holding company, the new CES Srl started anew with the support of new shareholders – whose identity has not been disclosed – who have always believed in the quality of its products.
In almost three years of activities, the Verona-based plant launched a very powerful versatile reach stacker (VRS) which will continue to be built and traded from Italy. Equipments with a pick & carry capacity up to 200 tons are thought to be a rarity on the market, therefore there is a significant development potential.
VRS manufactured by CES are well-know in Germany, UK and Malaysia. The first machine delivered was a VRS-D provided to Watco in Sassnitz – dealing with insulation of pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – and equipped with a telescopic spreader and with suitable forks to handle pipes.
Afterwards, CES sold a VRS-F unit to Hamburg-based Progeco to handle containers on barges at the German terminal which, although not having a “negative” lifting capacity (i.e. below quay level), can be equipped with an extra-high chassis to lift or lower containers up to the bottom of the barge.
Last August, CES delivered 2 VRS-G with a 70 tons SWL to CS Wind Malaysia to handle wind tower sections. Finally, in October they sold two VRS-K units with a huge capacity – the biggest ever built to lift wind tower sections up to 36 m long – to CS Wind Scotland for their production of offshore wind tower sections.
Sales to CS Wind were carried out with the support of its British agent Shad Fork Trucks (Liverpool) Ltd. In turn, in Germany CES was the distributor of the French company Gaussin, one of CES GmbH's two reference shareholders. The other investor was an Italian backer who was fascinated by Huthloff's original project, and who is thought to be still supporting the new company.
Therefore, the new CES is starting anew with different investors, Italian entrepreneurs within its industry, holding 90% of its shares, while 10% of the shares belong to its managing director Giovanni Bolcato, and CES Italy's former general manager. Bolcato worked for Boretto-based (Reggio Emilia) Manotti Spa, operating mainly in the mobile cranes sector and, since 2017, a subsidiary of the leading Group in the aerial platforms sector headquartered in Socage di Sorbara (Modena). Bolcato also worked for Verona-based Euro Rigo Spa (a joint-venture between Kato Works Co. Ltd and Autogru Rigo Spa), operating in the same warehouse were CES Italy was headquartered.
The 4 employees left remained with him in the new CES, while their technical office was outsourced to an external company.
They are currently carrying out negotiations to sell other VRS – CS Wind was about to exercise its option for another two VRS – but the main deal concerns the retrofit of several CVS Ferrari units already sold, although the old customers seem to be willing to trust the newly established company.