With more than 600 mobile cranes and 25 depots across the country, Ainscough Crane Hire claims to be Britain’s largest provider of mobile cranes and lifting gear. Founded in 1976 by Gerald Ainscough, a scrap-metal merchant, the company also owns the largest mobile crane in the UK. The firm is now run by his son Martin, who has used acquisitions to expand sales and ruthless cost cutting and efficiency to boost profits. “We are family owned, but run by professionals,” he says. The approach has paid dividends, as profits at the Wigan company have grown 44% a year from £2.6m in 1999 to £7.9m in 2002. In December, Ainscough bought Baldwins’ mobile crane fleet, bringing its share of the UK crane-hire market to almost 25%.
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