Yet another year has come and gone. New companies have entered the marketplace, old ones have vanished, and yet others have merged in one of the most active years for the HDD industry in recent memory.
Looking back over some of the major developments of the last while, we can see a rapidly changing landscape. Ditch Witch and the Charles Machine Works were probably the most active, snatching up Hammerhead and breaking the partnership that Vermeer enjoyed for many years. Radius HDD was similarly acquired by the shovel-riding witch. The sale of American Augers and Trencor to Ditch Witch was also just recently announced last month, putting Charles Machine works in a very strong position within the maxi-rig market. There was also some late-breaking news as the Charles Machine Works also just announced the acquisition of MTI Equipment, a used equipment dealership located in Florida.
In another corner of the industry, Astec let their line of HDD equipment go to Toro in what could be a very interesting development for the big two manufacturers, especially in the small to medium sized rig markets. Now that a player with some serious dollars behind it has entered the arena, it will be interesting to see what develops.
On top of the industry shake-ups, we also see what we hope to be the last vestiges of the global financial crisis being shucked off. Contractors are getting back to work and spending money again.
From HDD Broker's perspective, I'm happy to announce that we had a record-breaking year, eclipsing 2011 (the previous record-holder) by a very healthy margin. It was a fairly big roller coaster ride, a sentiment that seems to be echoed from the manufacturers we have spoken with. Great months were followed by lackluster ones followed by more great ones. Seasonal buying patterns were thrown out the window and it turned out to be anyone's best guess when the tides of buying would ebb and flow.
All wound up for the best, however, and we're truly hoping that the last bit of uncertainty and hesitation as a result of the messy world economy has disappeared, or at least been diluted to a great degree.
Some interesting statistics revolve around the inventory of used drills on the market. We had been seeing a fairly steady decrease in used drills on the market for the last year or so, bottoming out in February of 2012. From that point, the listings have steadily risen to their current levels which are actually approximately 30% higher right now than they were in February.
Our listings department has been busy!
What will 2013 hold for us? It's really anyone's best guess, but it's our sincere hope that above anything else we get back a certain degree of normalcy to the buying patterns. Huge spikes are great for getting the adrenaline going, but quite poor at allowing reliable forecasting. The HDD market's health over the last ten years looks like a cardiograph, and I think everyone would love to see a nice, solid and straight line heading upwards at a steady angle, manufacturers and contractors alike.
Despite the uncertainty and the naysayers out there, we here at HDD Broker are confident that it will be a great 2013.
From our HDD family to you and yours, please have a very Happy Holidays and a wonderful and prosperous New Year!