Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.


How McLanahan and Anaconda came together

By |  February 26, 2020
Behind tracked plants such as the SR520, Anaconda Equipment has already brought a number of mobile screening developments to market in North America. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

Behind tracked plants such as the SR520, Anaconda Equipment has already brought a number of mobile screening developments to market in North America. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

McLanahan Corp. is celebrating its 185th anniversary in 2020.

That’s a long history for the storied company whose headquarters is nestled within the Appalachian Mountains of central Pennsylvania.

McLanahan leaders undoubtedly faced a great deal of industry change over parts of three centuries. But the last few years brought yet another bout of change that demanded significant directional decision-making from the company’s leadership.

As president and CEO Sean McLanahan describes, more aggregate producers currently seek flexibility in their plants, meaning the more traditional stationary plants that have long incorporated McLanahan equipment are giving way to portable and modular systems. In addition, Sean says producers are demanding to work with manufacturers who provide a variety of equipment solutions, from crushing and screening to conveying, washing and more.

“Five years ago, we started seeing a shift in the size of the deposits available, the mining permits being released, the availability of capital and the extremely quick return on investment,” Sean says. “We started seeing the shift to smaller sites where producers wanted to deploy mobile equipment – or at least modular equipment – from one place to another.”

Although fewer stationary plants are being erected in 2020, some markets, such as Texas, are exceptions to the rule due to phenomenal aggregate demand. Generally, though, the changing nature of many aggregate operations and the emerging obstacles so many face are driving McLanahan to provide new solutions that meet producer demands.

One ongoing market trend McLanahan identified is tracked plants. McLanahan secured entry down this road when it teamed early last year with Anaconda Equipment.

Anaconda, founded in 2008 by Alistair Forsyth and Martin Quinn, developed a sizable equipment range over the last 12 years that includes scalpers, screeners, recyclers and conveyors. The company has a distribution facility in Massachusetts and manufactures equipment in Northern Ireland.

According to Forsyth, the North American market traditionally represented 30 to 35 percent of Anaconda’s global business. Roughly 500 Anaconda plants are present in North America, he says, but Forsyth sees a tremendous opportunity ahead to grow that figure.

“This allows us to bolt on the McLanahan name to Anaconda, A McLanahan Company,” says Forsyth, group president and managing director of Anaconda. “We would be foolish not to utilize this 200-year-old American institution.”

Likewise, in partnering with Anaconda, McLanahan did not want to pass on the opportunity to leverage the headway Anaconda made in the tracked plant space.

“Getting into this track line of equipment was exciting because it’s a new area of the marketplace for us,” Sean says. “To be able to do it through Anaconda – a young, vibrant company – is really appealing to us. It helps us to be a better company.”

Coming to terms

Sean McLanahan, left, and Alistair Forsyth began exploring opportunities for synergy between McLanahan Corp. and Anaconda Equipment a few years ago. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

Sean McLanahan, left, and Alistair Forsyth began exploring opportunities for synergy between McLanahan Corp. and Anaconda Equipment a few years ago. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

While McLanahan technically acquired Anaconda in 2019, McLanahan refers to its relationship with Anaconda as a partnership. The origin of the relationship, however, stretches back a few years.

“With the last three years, we started discussions with McLanahan under the guise of a rebrand,” Forsyth says. “Really, we were just looking to see how we could potentially do some business together. Using that time as a dating period, we found common goals, common processes and a common ideology of what is fundamentally important.”

Anaconda leadership, for one, was drawn to the family nature of McLanahan.

“Everybody’s heard the name McLanahan Corp.,” Forsyth says. “It’s still a family company with a $10 million mentality for a multi-million-dollar company. That’s important for us because we want to carry on in that vein no matter how big we get.”

That Anaconda could carry on with business as usual was also attractive to Forsyth and his team.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues occur with manufacturers rushing to market with everything rather than working on their core specialization,” Forsyth says. “I think that’s where McLanahan differentiates with Anaconda. They’re keeping it part of the family, but separate.”

There’s sound logic behind the arrangement, Sean says.

“In a year’s time, we’re not coming in and telling them this is the way you’re going to do it,” he says. “We want to help any way we can and let them do what they’ve done.”

McLanahan, after all, had not established roots of its own in the tracked plant space.

“The natural progression for us is to want to do more,” Sean says. “But we also acknowledge what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. To suddenly get into the track market, we had to find someone to work and partner with.”

What’s ahead

In addition to scalping and screening plants, Anaconda already offers wheeled and tracked trommels and conveyors along with feed conveyors. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

In addition to scalping and screening plants, Anaconda already offers wheeled and tracked trommels and conveyors along with feed conveyors. Photo courtesy of McLanahan Corp.

The products Anaconda develops alongside McLanahan will ultimately be Anaconda’s, and those will continue to be sold through the Anaconda dealer network. And while screening, recycling and conveying equipment have historically been Anaconda’s strength, a growth opportunity Forsyth sees for his brand is crushing.

“The next step is mobile tracked crushing,” Forsyth says. “The chamber is the heart and soul of mobile tracked crushers. We knew McLanahan also owned the Universal chamber line. This creates a great synergy for us to put that brand of chamber onto the new line of mobile crushers coming out, and pairing with this company for the long-term.”

Sean sees crushing as a great opportunity for the McLanahan-Anaconda combination, as well.

“There was certainly a big synergy with our ability to provide some technology that Anaconda needed,” he says.

New crushing tech could be just the tip of the iceberg for things to come from the two companies.

“The ethos is step slowly and surely,” Forsyth says. “It doesn’t mean we rush in and bring everything to market. I think that would only weaken the brand over the long-term.

“There’s plenty of unison that lets us look at existing wash equipment of McLanahan along with the chambers,” he adds. “But I think the status quo right now is taking the correct step with crushing, doing some really nice innovations in the crushing arena and perhaps looking at some supplementary or complementary screening bolt-on lines.”

Yet another opportunity the synergy presents to McLanahan is the rental market. More producers are renting equipment today versus when Anaconda entered the industry 12 years ago. Through Anaconda, McLanahan can better compete in that space.

“Ever since the crash in 2009, there’s been a huge change in how equipment is used,” Forsyth says. “It’s rented before purchased. Customers trend toward tracked equipment because it’s easier to fund on the rental and the convergence of it. But it’s also easier to sell after they procure it.”

Dealers have also gravitated toward track plants, Forsyth says.

“They’re cautious of stocking static,” he says. “They’re trending toward portable. You can put a value on it and liquidate it if you had to.”

Dealers and end users aren’t the only ones interested in portable plants. McLanahan obviously is, as well.

“We’re seeing the track side of the equipment and modular coming more into the production side of things in the U.S.,” says Sean, adding that the market can expect to see new Anaconda offerings based on the McLanahan synergy at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020. “That’s really spurred us to get into it.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

Comments are closed

\