CHERRY picker maker Tanfield has hit the break-even point for the first time since 2008 and is considering a number of approaches to buy out part of the business.
The Washington-based company, which manufactures the Snorkel brand aerial platforms for the construction industry, said the approaches came from “credible parties”.
“The board is considering these approaches and will provide an update in due course,” said Tanfield in a statement.
“Any disposal of this business would be subject to shareholder approval. There can be no certainty that any negotiations will result in an agreement to dispose of this business. We will keep shareholders informed of any further developments.”
There has been speculation within the sector about the possible sale of Snorkel, with sources suggesting Chinese crane and excavator company Sany may be among the interested parties.
Tanfield said it had been approached in a trading statement ahead of its full-year results to December 31 last year. The statement also revealed that the company had reached the break-even point in October, for the first time since 2008.
The company suffered during the recession because of the global downturn in the construction industry, which forms the main market for cherry pickers. Customers stopped buying new products, and once the market picked up again there were issues with bottlenecks in the supply chain, which have now mainly been resolved.
Tanfield said the overall revenues and operating losses for the second half will be in line the first six months of 2012, and the company is now in a “strong position” to respond to the 2013 buying season that it expects to start in the second quarter.
It said: “The end markets continue to recover on the back of replacement demand, and the company has received significant order forecasts from key customers, supporting a positive outlook for 2013 and the board's confidence in the ability in 2013, subject to continued favourable market conditions, to achieve its first full year profit since 2007.”
Tanfield sold the majority of its electric vehicle business to its US associate company, but it still retains a 24% interest in the business. It has extended the maturity date of its £1.9m bridging loan to Smiths Vehicles US until June this year.
Tanfield’s full year results for the 12 months to the end of December are set to be published in April.