SANY is one of the top three heavy machine manufacturers in the world, but until recently its U.S. captive finance arm only provided ad hoc financing. Under the leadership of Dean Waters, Sany Capital is now supporting 52 dealers and counting as its parent expands its U.S. footprint.
Dean Waters, President, SANY
When Dean Waters graduated from college, his family persuaded him to take over the family’s hog farming business, which was facing some challenges. Five years later, Waters had completely turned the business around. As farming experienced dramatic changes, he decided to return to school to earn an MBA.
Waters had no intention of joining the equipment finance industry, but after running into a family friend who worked for NationsBank Leasing, he joined the company as an associate. Waters stayed on through the subsequent Bank of America acquisition, ultimately working his way up to managing director of syndications and third-party originations for its cross-border business.
Through the course of Waters’ 25-year finance career, he has launched several equipment finance businesses and a hedge fund, raised de novo capital for startup banks, recapitalized community banks, assisted with bank mergers and served as the CFO of a publicly traded company.
Then Sany Capital USA came along. Originally formed to provide ad hoc financing for companies buying SANY construction and material handling equipment in the North American market, the company had no employees and about $20 million in assets when Waters joined as president in December 2018.
As the first employee, Waters was initially responsible for every aspect of the business. He completely changed the business model, implemented the operations and accounting systems, and moved credit approval authority completely to the U.S. subsidiary from the parent company in China. By year-end 2019, originations had increased to $160.1 million from $12 million in 2018. Today the business is exclusively focused on SANY America dealers and direct accounts, and the team has grown to five full-time employees.
Although SANY is one of the top three heavy machinery manufacturers in the world, it has remained a smaller player in the U.S. until recently. Currently, excavators and earthmoving equipment account for roughly 80% of SANY America’s sales, with its remaining business coming from material handling equipment. The company recently introduced cranes in the U.S. and also is expanding into other equipment types. North American SANY dealers are on the rise as well, up to 52 from 32 a year ago and covering approximately 65% of the U.S. market.
Over the next decade, SANY plans to further expand its U.S. footprint. “Most of the products SANY makes will one day be sold here in the U.S.,” Waters says. “We have a long-term strategy and U.S. focus. We will eventually locally manufacture and assemble all the machines and products we sell in the U.S.”
The company plans to expand its 400,000 square foot plus manufacturing facility in Peachtree, GA — where portions of Avengers: Endgame were filmed — and eventually build two more facilities of similar size.
“This has been a life changing opportunity,” Waters says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have run a number of my own businesses in multiple different industries. Each of those experiences taught me a lot and I was able to bring all that together to run Sany Capital. It’s been fun.”
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