A year or so ago the word went round the industry that the long-established German loader crane manufacturer Tirre had gone out of business. However, it was not true. Or not entirely, at least. It was true that Maschinenfrabrik Joh. Tirre GmbH was in extreme financial difficulties, brought about by an over-dependency on its domestic market at a time of zero growth. The crisis began in November 2003, but the management continued operations while trying to reorganise the company and sort out its problems. On 1 July 2004 the company re-emerged with a new structure and a new name, Tirre Krantechnik GmbH.

Tirre remains under the management of general director Hans Joachim Tirre, whose grandfather founded the company as a manufacturer of agricultural machinery and whose father and uncle took it into cranes more than 40 years ago. Since the restructuring, there is a new shareholder, which he prefers not to name. The Tirre family retains a substantial shareholding, he says.

Hans Joachim Tirre says that the new organisation continues to build cranes, using a small network of suppliers based within 60km of its Bad Zwischen service and manufacturing base. The commercial headquarters have moved to Bremen, though. The new company is smaller than before – only about half the employees’ jobs could be saved – and the hook loader subsidiary Normann Bock Wechselsysteme has been sold.

The former company was not helped by the ending of its partnership with Autogru PM of Italy. Tirre was the German distributor for PM’s standard cranes, while the Italian company offered Tirre’s long boom cranes, brick and block cranes and other more specialised types. When financial investors took over PM in May 2002, the new owners took a different approach and ended the agreement, Hans Joachim Tirre explains.

He is open to the idea of new partnership agreements. ‘These days you always have to think about co-operation, national and international,’ he says. The fact Tirre had depended on the German market for more than 90% of its sales was the major cause of the financial crisis, he says. For this reason, increasing exports is a key priority for the new company. The UK has been identified as one market to be explored.

The new manufacturing programme encompasses the 8tm to 26tm range, although all crane designs previously offered by the old company can be supplied, Hans Joachim Tirre says.