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February/March 2005
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Executive Hire News › Archives › February/March 2005 › Executive Report : Executive news

Executive Report : Executive news

Latest HSS news

HSS is to replace its entire transport fleet and the first Transit vehicles have been delivered as part of a multi-million pound agreement to lease more than 600 new commercial vehicles. The new generation of vehicles will be phased in to HSS’ fleet over the next three years following extensive consultation with branch drivers and transport managers as to the sort of vehicles that would be best for the business.
“We have developed a Transit vehicle to meet the demands and rigours of our business and also maximise the potential of the vehicle in revenue earning terms,” explained HSS Fleet Manager Lee Jackson. “That has meant a completely new way of operating the tail-lift, higher sides for added security, increasing the number of secure fixing points and looking very carefully at the volume to weight ratio.”
“Replacing the vehicle fleet is one of the keys to ensuring we grow our core UK business,” said Chief Executive Paul Nolan. “By getting tools and equipment to where and when they are wanted we will not let our customers down.”
HSS has also bought a 25% stake in its Spanish franchise operator Rentecnika Iberica. Founded in 1994 and developed by MD Jose Maria Pujol-Xicoy, Rentecnika Iberica has 14 branches in several Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. “Rentecnika has developed the HSS brand in Spain and has a high reputation in the market,” said Jose Maria. “I am confident that together we will continue to dominate the Spanish market.”
HSS General Manager Franchise Michael Bellenger confirmed that the agreement with Jose Maria heralded a significant new strategy for HSS. “The decision to invest in Spain indicates HSS’ willingness to share the risk and get directly involved in accelerating the growth of a company that already has a formidable presence in the country. Within Spain there is unprecedented building work on homes, businesses and the national infrastructure. The chance to become involved with this boom industry was simply too good an opportunity to miss.”
Announcing the deal during HSS’s International Conference at the Rental Show in Las Vegas, Chief Executive Paul Nolan said Rentecnika Iberica was “a shining example of true partnership.” He went on to confirm that HSS was now actively seeking new international partners for similar joint collaborations. “It makes perfect sense that we combine the strength of our brand and international tool hire experience with the entrepreneurial skills of independent tool hire specialists to maximise the opportunities as markets worldwide become more attuned to the concept of tool hire rental.”

Rentool to the rescue

Until a TCP Hi-T500 compact dumper, working with a Kubota micro excavator, arrived on an Allgrove Developments site in Poole, the contractor thought it was faced with a seemingly impossible muckshifting job at a nursing home. The contract involved the installation of a new land drain behind an existing, internal retaining wall in order to solve a serious damp problem beneath the large, 15 year old property.
Access to the area was extremely limited and, initially, the Kubota micro and clay spades were used in conjunction with a conveyor as it was thought this would be the only viable method of spoil removal. However, this system proved to be painfully slow and unsuitable. Thankfully, local hirer, Rentool, came to the rescue by suggesting Allgrove use one of its fleet of TCP's dumpers, teamed with the Kubota digger, a combination that proved ideal for the task.

Hire Or Buy helps with Wishes and Dreams

Hire Or Buy Group Ltd, which operates four outlets in St. Neots, Huntingdon, Biggleswade and Stevenage, recently held a charity night in aid of the Wishes and Dreams Trust, which helps terminally ill children. The horse race night was held in a local St Neots pub and over 40 customers and staff sponsored individual jockeys, horses and races, raising £460 for the charity.
The event was organised by Hire Or Buy’s Nick Cox (photographed, left, with St Neots Depot Manager David Pryke), who told us “it was a cracking night and I was very pleased to hand over the cheque to such a worthwhile charity. Hire Or Buy plans to organise similar nights during the year.”

Supply U.K. continues to make things happen

Further to our EHN October Profile on dynamic independent hirer Supply U.K. Ltd, the company has now re-located its Stoke outlet, only originally opened in July last year, into a 5,000ft2 unit, on the main A500 road into the city centre. Managing Director Richard Coffey states, “the depot is flying and in December, in only its fifth month of operation, achieved £48,000 turnover. Similarly in only its fourth month of trading, our Leeds branch exceeded our expectations in achieving £36,000 turnover in December and £38,000 in January.”
Richard Coffey has also purchased “prime 5,500ft2 main road frontage premises in the heart of Widnes, Cheshire, right on the spot to service the expected £600m Widnes/Runcorn bridge bypass. We will be operational in this site by the first week of March.” Supply U.K.’s tool hire operation in nearby Runcorn, its original outlet, will move to the new Widnes facility.
“In the year to December 03, our turnover was £1.43m and, by the end of December 04, it had grown to £3.2m. Generally, our January turnover figures were better than expected. Excluding any new openings this year, Supply U.K. will easily attain £5.5m turnover this year from the existing eight tool hire depots.”

Speedy sells Toilet Hire UK

Speedy Hire has sold Toilet Hire UK to a management buy-in team backed by the Bank of Scotland. Total consideration is £1.1m, £600,000 of which is deferred consideration, payable in equal instalments over three years.
Toilet Hire UK is stated as being “a small division of Speedy Space” and its disposal represents the exit of Speedy from stand-alone toilet hire, a market described by the company as having “limited growth opportunities.” Speedy did not consider the product provided the ability to leverage its national network or brand in a highly fragmented market. Toilet Hire UK was formed in 2002 following the acquisition of the Jewson stand-alone hire depots.
Toilet Hire UK's 2004 turnover was £5.2m and its net assets at March 2004 were £2.6m, but it only made a £100,000 contribution to group operating profits. Toilet Hire UK also generated below average operating margin and return on capital.
Speedy's preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2005, to be announced in June 2005, will include an exceptional charge in respect to the loss on disposal of Toilet Hire UK of £600,000 relating to fees and asset write offs.
Speedy has also acquired D.A.D. Hire Services Ltd for £300,000 in cash. D.A.D. is described as an established and well-respected tool hirer operating from a single depot in Northwich, Cheshire. D.A.D.’s reported turnover in the year ended 31 March 2003 was £300,000.
Chief Executive, John Brown, states "it makes sense to switch out of low-return sectors and concentrate on our core businesses in tool and equipment hire. The acquisition of D.A.D. allows us to further extend our geographic coverage in an area previously identified for greenfield expansion".

Thal in joint venture

Portable sanitation specialist, Thal, has announced the signing of a joint venture agreement with US manufacturer, Five Peaks Technology. The deal, which covers engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing, means that Thal, based in Germany and with UK manufacturing and sales facilities in Tamworth, will offer, throughout Europe, Five Peaks’ models alongside its own Mondo toilet, thereby increasing choice of design, colour and internal features.
Thal MD, Jon Trelfa, said, “We’ve known and worked with Five Peaks for some time. It produces a quality product, shares our business ethic and, together we have lots of new ideas about how to grow our joint market share.”

Timberwolf hungry for hire

Wood chipper manufacturer Timberwolf reports a substantial increase in demand for its products from the hire industry. “We are already regarded as the first choice of supplier by most owner/operators and we are determined to extend this success into the hire market,” states Managing Director Richard Marshall. “More utilities and contractors are hiring chippers to supplement their existing fleets to cope with extra work, or as a total solution enabling them to respond quickly to any job.
“Our machines are built for performance, reliability and ease of service, and are more ruggedly constructed than other chippers designed purely for the non-professional, which cause disappointment and frustration to hire companies and their customers who need heavy-duty equipment. One of our most popular units is the 13/75 model: every hire shop that has bought it has come back for more and, equally important, their customers go back to them.” The Timberwolf line-up comprises models with chipping capacities from 7-30cm. The Stowmarket-based company recently appointed Alex Ball to further develop its hire industry business.

Dennis Martin sets up Orogeny

A detailed knowledge of the rental industry is claimed to put newly formed companies, Orogeny Technologies and Orogeny Consultancy, in a good position to offer IT know-how to hire companies. The team heading this new operation has worked in the industry and hire software suppliers for a combined total of over 70 years, stating that it is well placed to offer a consultancy service assisting companies that may be looking to change their IT infrastructure.
Dennis Martin heads up Orogeny Consultancy, believing that “many hire businesses are facing expensive upgrades to their existing hire software, or are overwhelmed by how many ‘market-leading’ systems appear to be available. Not many companies can spend the hours it takes to research potential systems, go through the demonstration process and check the supplier’s financial stability.”


GAP’s £3m Kubota order

GAP Group Ltd is reported to have purchased 230 Kubota mini excavators in a deal worth more than £3m. This latest order brings the stated number of Kubota machines purchased by GAP to over 1,000 units and includes 850kg micro excavators, as well as 1.5 tonne and larger diggers. According to GAP’s Sales Director Colin Haxton, “demand for broadband internet, digital television and a buoyant housing market have led to increased demand for mini excavators. The machines are more manoeuvrable, transportable and carry out a neater job with less disruption than machines in the past.” For his part, GAP’s Procurement Manager Ken Stewart adds that “Kubota equipment is of the highest standards in terms of quality, robustness and efficiency, offering excellent residual values.”


Dear Sir,
Is it possible to find out from your readers the success rate of recovered stolen plant that has the Tracker network system installed? I run a hire company that operates a medium fleet of 1.5-3 tonne mini excavators, 120 and 80 Bomag tandem rollers, 2 to 3 tonne dumpers, skip loaders and compressors. A large percentage of my revenue is generated from the utility section where we have recently won another contract to supply a major contractor with plant for the next five years.
One condition of the contract was that all plant and machinery, where possible, must be protected by a Tracker system. My reason for this enquiry is that I have recently had two items of plant stolen from site with an approximate value of £30,000 - both machines were less than three months old and were fitted with Tracker. To date, they have not been recovered. My success rate is lost two and recovered zero.
Are there any readers with 100% recovery rate or 100% loss rate with Tracker? If so, please contact Executive Hire News or myself. All I want to know is, how good is the Tracker system?

Gerry Gardiner
GGH Hire, Brimsdown, Enfield EN3 7UH.


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