Building together

25 June 2018


At the headquarters of subsidiary Kenz Figee, Sotiris Kanaris met MeeMaken’s managing partner Roderik van Seumeren and operational partner Natasja Sesink and talked about the business.

There is no exact translation of MeeMaken in English; “it means participating, building together, sharing experiences together,” says Sesink. The name reflects the philosophy of the company, as it is an investment company with the approach of an active shareholder.

“We are actively working with every company we acquire and we take a role in senior management. By doing that we get to know the DNA of the organisation—the clients, the products, the people. This is a different approach compared to a regular private equity organisation or investment firm,” Sesink explains.

The latest acquisition of MeeMaken was the Kenz Figee Group less than two years ago, with both executives visiting the headquarters almost every day in order to understand the business and create a culture similar to the previous businesses they worked for. The two MeeMaken executives had worked together in the past for Mammoet, where van Seumeren was chief executive and Sesink responsible for human resource management.

The Kenz Figee Group combines almost 200 years of experience in the design, production and maintenance of offshore cranes and harbour cranes. The range of offshore cranes includes knuckle boom, ram luffing and boom hoist cranes.

In terms of harbour cranes, van Seumeren says the demand is quite low at the moment, and activity is mainly centered on services such as maintenance, rebuilding or retrofitting. For offshore cranes and crane gangways he says they have had some recent orders from longstanding clients.

“The crane we are now building for Heerema is huge: 3000m of rope can be put on the drum, the line pull is around 100t,” says van Seumeren.

A year and a half after MeeMaken bought Kenz Figee, they changed management. As from November 2017 Jan Pieter Klaver, who was between 2010 and mid 2017 CEO of Heerema Marine Contractors, took the role of CEO and bought 20% shares of Kenz Figee Holding.

In addition, MeeMaken has expanded its company’s offering, which now includes the manufacturing of offshore equipment for jack-up vessels, production platforms, drilling units, support vessels and pipe laying vessels.

Van Seumeren says the reason behind the diversification is Kenz’s large dependency on the offshore sector, which is currently changing into new (renewable) energy markets.

In MeeMaken’s portfolio there are other companies involved in the lifting sector: Eager.one, formerly known as Euro-Rigging based in Utrecht, Netherlands; LiftWerx based in Cambridge, Canada and Texasbased Alltec Lifting Systems. Eager.one provides engineering and consulting in the field of heavy mechanical engineering and specialises in systems for lifting and transport. Eager.one designs and builds equipment including lifting beams and spreaders.

A crane industry-related project undertaken by Eager.one was the upgrade of a 160t Sennebogen 5500 crawler crane into the 200t class. The upgrade was engineered by means of in-house development crane calculation software. The final result was an upgrade of approximately 60% at some combinations of the luffing jib and the main boom capacity was also upgraded significantly.

The companies within MeeMaken have been working together for some products. “The basis of MeeMaken is that our companies are on their own, profit or loss responsible. In principle we do not push synergies, it is up to them to find them,” says van Seumeren.

LiftWerx specialises in wind power operations and maintenance market with major component replacements. Its up-tower lifting device, named the Heli-Hook, was designed in collaboration with Eager. one. This device is able to remove and replace IMS shafts and other heavy equipment in the nacelle.

Van Seumeren says: “If you do that with a crane, you need a 300t telescopic crawler crane with a fixed jib. You will also need an assist crane to lift the jib and five-six trailers. We are now doing this job with Heli-Hook. We only need a F250 pick up truck with a two-axle trailer. We did three jobs in Toronto and one week later we had another job in Texas.”

LiftWerx has also partnered with Siemens Gamesa to develop the world’s highest capacity uptower lifting device. Rated at a lifting capacity of 75t, the RotorHook is designed to lower a fully-assembled wind turbine rotor and main shaft, eliminating the need to utilise a large conventional crane on the ground. It is designed to be easily mobilised to site in three standard ISO containers. The RotorHook will be launched in Q2 2019.

Another collaboration between MeeMaken companies was that of Eager.One with digital learning solutions provider BeOne e-Works, which is based in Hilversum, the Netherlands. The two companies created an e-learning course for SPMT operators.

“We are now rolling out the strand jacks e-learning course and we have more specific lifting e-learning courses. We are also working on one for the ECOL certificate. The good thing is that we are able to translate our courses in more than 40 languages,” adds Sesink.

At MeeMaken they also recognise the importance of sharing knowledge within the company and they have created the MeeMaken Academy. Sesink says: “We started last year a client-based communication course for engineers. We rolled out four evenings of four hours for 15 persons. Now we are rolling out in the MeeMaken Academy all kinds of training related to technical and communication skills. We believe that employees have the responsibility to develop themselves and we will facilitate it.”

Another company in MeeMaken’s portfolio is Selmers, a Dutch international supplier of plants and equipment for internal and external pipe coating, pipe cleaning and pipe handling.

Despite the fact that there are companies in MeeMaken’s portfolio that are related to cranes and transportation, van Seumeren says it is not the company’s intention to become a new crane company. “Our intention is to play a role in it and that is what we are doing, adding value to the market where we came from.”

LiftWerx Heli-Hook is an up-tower lifting device for wind turbines
MeeMaken’s managing partner Roderik van Seumeren and operational partner Natasja Sesink
A 200t Kenz Figee knuckle boom crane performing a load test at the manufacturer’s premises in Zaandam
LiftWerx Heli-Hook is an up-tower lifting device for wind turbines