Ainscough claims to be Britain’s largest independent supplier of mobile cranes, with a fleet of 520 operating out of 25 depots. Scrap-metal merchant Gerald Ainscough founded the firm in 1976 after people kept asking to borrow his crane. The Wigan company is still owned by the founder’s family and Gerald’s son Martin is the current chairman. Recent hire customers include Network Rail and Shell. Ainscough’s profits have grown 54% a year, from £4.4m in 2001 to £15.9m in 2004, thanks to cost reductions and the 2002 acquisition of former rival Baldwins.
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