July 31, 2015

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift to acquire UniCarriers Corp.

Consolidation among forklift makers supports Mitsubishi's plan for global business expansion.

By DC Velocity Staff

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift Co. Ltd. said today they will acquire forklift manufacturer UniCarriers Corp. for an undisclosed sum. The transaction, which must be approved by Japanese authorities, would give MHI and Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift stakes in UniCarriers of 65 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift is the parent company of Mitsubishi Forklift America Corp. (MCFA). How the acquisition would affect MCFA's business is unclear; details of the merger plans will be disclosed as soon as they become available, the acquiring companies said. However, it could potentially create a more formidable global competitor for fellow Japanese lift-truck maker Toyota, which says its lift trucks are the best-selling worldwide.

UniCarriers owns Marengo, Ill.-based UniCarriers Americas Corporation (UCA), which has a network of more than 150 authorized dealerships with nearly 300 locations across North, Central, and South America. UCA sells and supports Nissan Forklift, TCM, Atlet, Barrett, and UniCarriers brand material handling equipment.

According to a statement announcing the deal, the acquisition is in line with MHI's new three-year business plan and Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift's medium-term business plan, both of which seek to expand aggressively within global markets. The forklift industry is experiencing "intensifying global competition," and greater scale is becoming increasingly important for ensuring profitability, the companies said in the press release.

By acquiring UniCarriers, MHI and Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift will gain a diverse lineup of product offerings capable of responding to a wider range of customers' needs and applications. The deal will also enhance the companies' research and development capabilities, and complementary sales networks will provide global expansion opportunities, according to the statement.


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