Toro, Charles Machine Works discuss how the deal for the Ditch Witch brand went down
Marcia Gruver Doyle | February 19, 2019

Ditch Witch Heavy Equipment

The wide-eyed talk at the American Rental Association Show was Toro’s acquisition late last week of the Charles Machine Works, parent company of the Ditch Witch brand.

In a press conference at the ARA Show, the two companies discussed what prompted the buy and how the two companies plan to transition into one company.

About a year and a half ago, a discussion at an Association of Equipment Manufacturers meeting started the process that ended last week when Toro announced that it had bought CMW, says Toro Chairman and CEO Rick Olson. “We basically told them if you’re ever interested… .”

Although CMW had received several offers and inquiries in the past, says Rick Johnson, CMW CEO, “this is the first time we took any of them seriously.”

Johnson continued: “We echo the sentiments about this being an exciting time for both companies. It is a perfect fit.”

But the decision did not come without a great deal of heart searching for the family members, including Tiffany Sewell-Howard, executive chair of CMW, who took over the helm of the company from her grandfather and company founder Ed Malzhan in 2003.

“The emotional roller coaster of selling the family business that had been in the family for 100 years was at times emotionally gut wrenching,” Johnson made clear. “In the end, this is the right decision, and the future for Charles Machine Works as the ‘Underground Authority’ is bright.”

“Our intention is to manage all the brands of both the Charles Machine Works, including Ditch Witch, and the Toro brands in a dual-brand strategy, “ says Rick Rodier, Toro vice president and general manager who will be assuming responsibilities for former CMW products in the transition. “There’s no intention of taking current models away or making a model that is currently orange red and vice versa. We’re thrilled to add Ditch Witch and the other brands to our portfolio of brands.”

“It was an up and down process for the Malzahn family,” admits Johnson, “but in the end they stood together, we feel that the Toro company could take it to a level that we probably couldn’t on our own in terms of access to capital and talent. We feel like this is the next chapter of Ditch Witch and Charles Machine Works.”

 

Reaching out to dealers

CMW reached out to its dealer network via a conference call the Friday morning of the announcement, Johnson tells Equipment World. “They told us that they knew it probably was going to happen someday and they were glad we picked someone who need more distribution,” Johnson says.

Following the conference call, company executives also called each dealer individually to hear concerns about such things as dealer discounts and warrantees.

The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of July, which is also the end of Toro’s fiscal third quarter.

Our parent company, Charles Machine Works, has agreed to be acquired by The Toro Company. Our plant is staying right here in Perry, Oklahoma, and will become Toro’s largest manufacturing facility worldwide.

— Ditch Witch (@ditchwitch)

 

In an analyst’s call on Friday, Rick Olson, chairman and CEO of Toro said that CMW and Toro had similar sales mix, with approximately 75 percent of sales domestically and 25 percent internationally. “One of the things that matches up well between the two companies is the value placed on relationships with channel partners,” Olson said. The importance of dealers to success of company was conveyed “very early on” and offers “great alignment with how we feel about our channel as well,” Olson said.

CMW has a strong Ditch Witch brand presence in its dealer network, with dealers are typically identified as “Ditch Witch of [location].” According to the company, Ditch Witch dealers operate in 175 locations in more than 100 countries.

Olson also said that current Ditch Witch CEO Rick Johnson would stay on board but will “transition his responsibilities” as a Toro person becomes responsible for the CMW brands.

 

Product mix of Toro, Ditch Witch

Toro Dingo TX 1000 compact utility loader

In examining the data from the 2018-19 Equipment World Spec Guide, it’s clear that the CMW buy gives Toro depth in both directional drills and trenchers, while Toro has strength in compact utility loaders, also called compact toolcarriers. Toro celebrated the 20thyear of the Dingo line with the introduction of Dingo TXL 2000 at last year’s American Rental Association show.

The Ditch Witch SK line of compact utility loaders, however, is popular with Ditch Witch dealers.

Toro Heavy Equipment

Toro DD2226

In directional drills, Toro offers just two models: the 22,000-pound max pullback DD2226 and the 40,000-pound max pullback DD4050, introduced at the ICUEE show in 2013 and after the company bought the vibratory plow, trencher and small horizontal drill lines of Astec Underground from Astec Industries in 2012. Later in 2012, CMW bought the American Augers brand from Astec Industries, which gave it models above 100,000 pounds max pullback, The company currently offers models ranging from 5,000 to 1.1 million pounds max pullback.

The two companies have competed the longest in trenchers, where Toro has five models ranging from 16 to 121 horsepower. CMW’s offering was broadened by its acquisition of Trencor brand, also part of the 2012 buy from Astec,  and the company now offers trenchers ranging from 11.7 horsepower to 950 horsepower.

Below are the comparison specs for Toro’s and CMW’s offerings in directional drills, compact utility loaders and trenchers from the 2018-19 Equipment World Spec Guide. (Note: Due to publication date, It does not include models introduced in the last five months of 2018.)

 

Directional Drills

 

Make Model Max pullback (lbs) Max thrust (lbs) Unit length of drill pipe (ft/in) Operating weight (lbs)
Up to <10,000 lbs
pullback
Ditch Witch JT5 5,000 4,100 4′ 9″ 3,690
10,000 to <20,000
lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT10 10,000 9,000 6′ 0″ 7,100
20,000 to <30,000
lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT20 20,000 17,000 10′ 0″ 11,890
Toro DD2226 22,000 22,000 10′ 9,485
Ditch Witch JT25 27,000 27,000 9′ 8″ 20,200
30,000 to <40,000
lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT30 30,000 24,800 9′ 8″ 22,575
Ditch Witch JT30 All Terrain 30,000 24,800 9′ 8″ 22,655
40,000 to <55,000
lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT40 40,000 40,000 15′ 0″ 28,750
Ditch Witch AT40 All Terrain 40,000 40,000 15′ 0″ 21,600
Toro DD4050 40,000 40,000 10′ 21,620
55,000 to
<100,000 lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT60 60,000 60,000 15′ 0″ 31,250
Ditch Witch JT60 All Terrain 60,000 60,000 15′ 0″ 31,250
100,000 to
<200,000 lbs pullback
Ditch Witch JT100 100,000 70,000 14′ 8″ 45,300
Ditch Witch JT100 All Terrain 100,000 70,000 14′ 1″ 47,260
American Augers DD-110 110,000 110,000 20′ 0″ 47,000
200,000 to
<500,000 lbs pullback
American Augers DD-240T 240,000 240,000 34′ 0″ 84,600
American Augers DD-440T 440,000 440,000 34′ 0″ 95,400
500,000 lbs pullback
and over
American Augers DD-660RS 660,000 660,000 34′ 0″ 100,300
American Augers DD-1100 RS 1,100,000 1,100,000 34′ 0″ 113,000

Compact Utility Loaders

Make Model Standard operating load at 50% of
tipping load (lbs)
Rated operating load (lbs) Tipping load, standard (lbs) Gross power (hp) Operating weight (lbs)
up to <601 lbs
standard operating load @ 50% of tipping load
Toro 323 Dingo 515 515 1,030 23 1,567
Toro 320D Dingo 524 524 1,048 20 1,722
601 to <801 lbs
standard operating load @ 50% of tipping load
Toro TX 427 Narrow Track 765 535 1,530 25 1,882
Toro TX 427 Wide Track 765 535 1,530 25 1,990
Toro TX 525 Narrow Track 790 553 1,580 23.3 1,904
Toro TX 525 Wide Track 790 553 1,580 23.3 2,013
801 to <976 lbs
standard operating load @ 50% of tipping load
Ditch Witch SK600 863 600 1,725 24.8 2,418
976 to 1,500 lbs
standard operating load @ 50% of tipping load
Ditch Witch SK800 1,233 860 2,465 24.8 2,926
Toro TX 1000 Narrow Track 1,428 1,000 2,857 24.9 2,610
>1,500
lbs standard operating load @ 50% of tipping load
Ditch Witch SK1050 1,518 1,062 3,035 36.9 3,435
Toro TX 1000 Wide Track 1,535 1,075 3,071 24.9 2,790
Ditch Witch SK1550 2,225 1,558 4,450 43.5 3,990

Trenchers

Make Model Gross engine power (hp) Operating weight (lbs) Max cutting depth (ft/in) Cutting width, min-max (in)
Under 14 gross hp
Ditch Witch C12X 11.7 1,360 2′ 0″ 4″ – 6″
Ditch Witch C14 13.5 1,191 2′ 0″ 4″ – 6″
14 to <18 gross
hp
Ditch Witch C16 16 1,528 2′ 6″ 4″ – 6″
Ditch Witch C16X 16 1,895 3′ 0″ 4″ – 6″
Toro TRX-16 16 1,100 4′ 0″ 6″
18 to <40 gross
hp
Ditch Witch C24X 22 1,915 3′ 0″ 4″ – 6″
Toro TRX-26 26 1,248 4′ 0″ 8″
Ditch Witch Zahn R300 2WD 30 1,048 3′ 0″ 4″ – 8″
Ditch Witch Zahn R300 4WD 30 1,290 4′ 0″ 4″ – 12″
Ditch Witch C30X 31 2,100 4′ 0″ 4″ – 6″
Toro ProSneak 365 35.5 2,930 3′ 6″ 4″ – 6″
Ditch Witch ST37X 37 4,110 3′ 0″ 6″ – 16″
40 to <51 gross
hp
Ditch Witch RT45 48.8 5,375 5′ 3″ 6″ – 12″
51 to <76 gross
hp
Ditch Witch RT55 62 12,000 5′ 2″ 6″ – 12″
Toro RT600 65 8,500 6′ 0″ 6″ – 16″
Ditch Witch RT80 74 20,370 7′ 8″ 6″ – 24″
Ditch Witch RT80 Quad 74 19,100 5′ 2″ 6″ – 24″
76 to <130 gross
hp
Ditch Witch RT105 107 22,000 8′ 1” 6″ – 24″
Ditch Witch RT125 121 22,000 8′ 1” 6″ – 24″
Ditch Witch RT125 Quad 121 27,200 7′ 9” 6″ – 24″
Toro RT1200 121 13,750 7′ 0″ 6″ – 16″
300 to <400 gross
hp
Trencor T1060 350 90,000 – 110,000 12′ 0″ 12″ – 36″
Trencor T1060 375 90,000 – 110,000 12′ 0″ 12″ – 36″
400 to <600 gross
hp
Trencor T13 475 127,000 – 173,000 18′ 0″ 16″ – 48″
Trencor T13 509 127,000 – 173,000 18′ 0″ 16″ – 48″
600 hp & over
Trencor T14 617 236,000 – 278,000 20′ 0″ 28″ – 54″
Trencor T14 630 236,000 – 278,000 20′ 0″ 28″ – 54″
Trencor T16 950 240,000 – 320,000 30′ 0″ 28″ – 60″
Trencor T17 950 246,000 – 326,000 30′ 0″ 28″ – 72″

 

 

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