Oshkosh Truck Corporation is to acquire Jerr-Dan Corporation, a manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment, from an affiliate of Littlejohn & Co for $US80 million.

Jerr-Dan, headquartered in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, had annual sales of more than $100 million in 2003.

In a statement, Oshkosh said the acquisition strengthens its position as a leading specialty truck and truck body manufacturer, expanding its product lines and distribution network. Jerr-Dan fits well with the company’s long-held strategy of growth through the acquisition of brands that are at or near the top in their market.

Jerr-Dan sells a complete product line to towing services and salvage companies including light-, medium- and heavy-duty wreckers, as well as aluminium, steel and industrial carriers. Oshkosh expects manufacturing and purchasing synergies between the two organisations.

Oshkosh said Jerr-Dan is a leader in product development and technology with its introduction of aluminium carrier decks, independent underlifts and composite bodies.

“We believe there are opportunities for cross-market technology integration between Jerr-Dan and other Oshkosh subsidiaries. For example, Oshkosh has delivered more than 2,500 heavy-duty wreckers to the military, and Jerr-Dan developed one of the first composite bodies in the towing industry, similar to what Oshkosh has accomplished in the concrete placement industry,” a spokesman said.

Jerr-Dan will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Truck Corporation, and will be part of the corporation’s fire and emergency business.