SOME 800 people filled the Salzburg Congress Hall on the evening of 7 June to celebrate 70 years of Austrian truck loader crane manufacturer Palfinger and 60 years of its majority owner Hubert Palfinger, pictured right.

Austrian politicians, sports stars and celebrities, Palfinger dealers from around the world, plus about 400 company employees all took part in the anniversary celebrations.

On behalf of the federal government, finance minister Karl Heinz Grasser awarded Hubert Palfinger the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Austria. Grasser described him as a role model for Austria and said that as finance minister he wished there were more companies like Palfinger.

After the serious business of speeches came dinner and a ball, which was interrupted periodically for the stage to be taken by sports stars such as Winter Olympic winners at Salt Lake City Markus Prock and Andi Schifferer and for an attempt on the world record for bending frying pans by Germany’s Strongest Man.

Hubert Palfinger, whose 60th birthday had actually taken place on 13 April, took over the business founded by his father 38 years ago in 1964 and built it up from a small workshop to a global player with nine factories, 2,400 employees and annual sales exceeding E330m.