Hydralift ASA, a listed Norwegian crane manufacturer, has agreed the acquisition of AS Stålprodukter of Molde in Norway.

The deal, worth NKr 93m ($10.2m) and expected to be completed by the end of the year, will make Hydralift ‘the world’s leading supplier of offshore cranes’, the company claimed.

Formed in 1946, Stålprodukter builds offshore cranes, offshore hose stations, winches and other lifting equipment under the brand name Molde Crane. It has 130 employees, including 70 which are involved in the mechanical production of Stålprodukter’s deliveries. The mechanical production function is not transferring to Hydralift and employees in this function will remain with the existing owners.

Stålprodukter reports that its order backlog is NKr 160m ($17.6m) plus options for NKr 60m ($6.6m). It expects sales of between NKr 175m and NKr 200m ($20m-$22m) this year.

Hydralift also produces offshore cranes, with sales comparable to those of Stålprodukter. The two companies have often competed for contracts, but also have many complementary products, according to Hydralift.

Hydralift has 350 employees. It was founded in 1965 to supply hydraulic and mechanical equipment to the industrial and marine sectors. In 1968 it decided to specialise in the design and production of marine cranes. Since then Hydralift has provided more than 6,000 hydraulic cranes for offshore and marine use. It continues to supply these two sectors with about 200 cranes a year.

As well as cranes, Hydralift uses its knowledge of high-pressure hydraulics to offer drilling equipment and handling machinery for cable-laying vessels.

It recently completed the NKr119m acquisition of Procon, the engineering arm of offshore services and drilling company ProSafe.

Hydralift is optimistic about its prospects in a recovering offshore industry. Last year it saw its net profits fall 22% to NKr 80m ($9m) on sales down to NKr1.13bn from 1999’s NKr1.4bn.