The joint venture was agreed in principle to introduce the new crane and Sparrows Crane Hire and Contracting expertise to the European and continental market and integrate with Montalev who already had an acknowledged presence; both companies would share the benefits and financial liabilities of the new 1000 tonne Gottwald crane. (Some £2.3 million pounds).
Montalev were already established in sizeable heavy lift contracts and had worked in Africa, Cameroon, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries, the joint venture would vastly increase the lifting capacity of both companies to the Petro Chemical contracting industry.
ETPM owned a large share of Montalev, the general manager of Montalev being Georges Raguin (an ETPM man).
Barry Mildren met Georges at a meeting with Derek Welch (Laing’s Plant manager at Boreham Wood, north of London), and Plant manager at Laing Offshore Graythorpe. Derek later became the Managing Director of Elstree Plant (Laing’s own Plant Company)
From memory Laing’s and ETPM had shown interest in the 1000 tonne crane to be used in their joint (successful) bid to build the first offshore platforms for BP’s Forties field, eventually however the use of the Gottwald was not feasible (The Gottwald being basically a pedestal crane) and they opted for the two 800 ton AH&D revolver cranes.
Barry Mildren’s initiative was the basis for the new company and Alf and I went to Grenoble (Voreppe) for the initial meetings, later Robin Shelley (Director Contract Services) became involved to finalise the contractual arrangements for the joint venture.
Barry was made General Manager for the venture and was initially based at Voreppe with his family; he later moved to Paris and spent 4 very productive years there.
The crane was delivered in 1980 and its first project was for The Lummus Company in Balikpapan Indonesia, it was shipped from there to Rostock, East Germany, and then shipped to Liverpool for the Cammell Laird project. The crane then made the long trip to New Zealand along with the AH&D 11320 where the Gottwald made a record lift for a truck crane of 742 tonnes.
In 1984 Alf, Barry Mildren, and I negotiated the close of the joint venture and Sparrows became the sole owners of the crane.