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Latest industry news

September 18, 2017

Barrus celebrates centenary

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 8:15 am

Today, E.P. Barrus is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The business began on 18 September, 1917 when Ernest Prouty Barrus set up a company in the UK to supply Starrett precision tools. Since then, it has diversified into other markets including Marine, Garden and Industrial.

Barrus entered the industrial engine market during the mid-1930s with the introduction of Johnson Iron Horse industrial engines and Chore Horse generators. Both saw service throughout the Second World War, and most Spitfire and Hurricanes fighter planes had their batteries topped up by Chore Horse generators. The Industrial Division was launched in 1985 with the introduction of the Yanmar L Series engines.

The company has extensive research and development facilities for custom-engine building at its headquarters in Bicester (pictured).

E.P. Barrus is co-owned by the Glen family and MTD Holdings, also a family-owned company, based in the USA, and one of the largest producers of outdoor power equipment in the world. Robert Glen, who is Chairman and the grandson of Ernest Barrus said, “As we celebrate our centenary we reflect on our proud past and most importantly express our sincere thanks to our customers, suppliers, distributors and partners, and loyal employees who have put their trust in Barrus and helped build the company’s success.”

“One hundred years in business represents a tremendous milestone,” commented MD Robert Muir. “2017 is, indeed, a momentous year with recent announcements including our exciting new location plans which will enable us to grow the business.”

September 12, 2017

Strong Ashtead performance

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 11:24 am

A-Plant’s parent company, Ashtead, has reported results for the first quarter of 2017, showing hire revenue increasing by 25% and underlying pre-tax profit increasing by 30% to £238m (2016: £184m), on turnover of £880m (2016: £707m).

Chief Executive Geoff Drabble said, “The reported results were impacted favourably by weaker sterling but, with 17% growth in Group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have continuing good momentum. We made significant investments in the quarter, spending £377m on capital expenditure and £116m on bolt-on acquisitions.

He added that its USA hire operation, Sunbelt Rentals, was well placed to cope with demand following the recent extreme weather condition. “Hurricane season has already generated significant activity which will require a major clean-up effort and then a multi-year rebuild programme. It is too early to attempt to quantify the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma accurately on our business. However, it is evident that it will result in an increase in demand for our fleet and we will provide an update at the end of Q2.”

September 8, 2017

Ten towers for CHS

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 8:10 am

Ahead of the festive events season, Bristol-based CHS Plant & Tool Hire has bought ten TL90 3e LED lighting towers from Morris Site Machinery.

The machines are designed for low levels of noise, emissions and fuel consumption, and CHS specified the units with dawn-to-dusk sensors so that they can turn themselves on and off automatically.

CHS Director Claire Bruce, who is pictured with Morris’ Stuart Selway, said: “Our previous equipment consisted of hand wind-up mast lighting towers so there was a desperate need to modernise to bring the fleet up to date. I was stunned by the compact size of the TL90 and the clear and crisp light from all of the four 300W heads.”

August 31, 2017

New guide on ladder safety

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 3:19 pm

The Ladder Association has published an eight-page guide explaining revisions to the BS EN 131 standard for portable ladders.

The free publication provides information on how and when the changes will affect users, advice on purchasing wisely when replacing existing ladders that are damaged or unfit for further use, changes to design requirements, and details on two new classes of ladders.

Through its membership of the European standards committee for ladders, CEN TC93, the Association has had an input into the new standards, which are aimed at improving product strength, rigidity and durability, as well as enhancing safety.

Don Aers, the Association’s Technical Manager said, “The guide makes it absolutely clear that standards do not apply retrospectively and gives practical, sensible advice to businesses in adjusting their purchasing policies to take account of the new standards. It also re-emphasises that, whilst ladders may not always be the first choice when working at height, they are often a sensible and practical option for low-risk and short duration tasks.”

August 30, 2017

HSS reports half-year loss

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 10:16 am

HSS has announced half-year results for the 26-week period ended 1 July 2017, showing that revenue was £160.5m, 3.4% below the first half of 2016 (£166.2m). This gave a loss before tax of £30.1m, compared to a loss of £7.8m in the same period last year.

The company says this reflects an additional week of trading last year, the closure of 68 depots in the last 12 months, and weaker performance in hire revenues, impacted by the group’s operating model change in 2016 and early 2017.

On an underlying basis, adjusting for the 53rd week and the branch closures, revenues are broadly flat, with marginal growth year-on-year within Q2, it says. Rental and related revenues were £119.3m in H1 2017, £9.5m or 7.3% lower than in the same period last year. HSS says that sales initiatives implemented in March 2017 have delivered revenue growth in core markets and that further work is underway to extend these into more markets.

Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ashmore, said: “While significant operational change was achieved during H1 17, both Rental revenue growth and the cost base were temporarily impacted leading to reduced profitability.

“We are facing into these challenges by taking decisive action to reinvigorate Rental revenue growth through the implementation of new sales initiatives and by rolling-out cost actions that will deliver annualised cost savings of c. £13m, a number of which are enabled by the recent investment in our centralised engineering and distribution capability. As a result of these actions the Group returned to profitability in June with revenue in growth for the first eight weeks of Q3 17 and this momentum will result in a stronger H2 relative to H1 performance leading to a healthier exit rate as we head into 2018.

“Whilst the rate of recovery in our Rental revenues has been positive, it has been materially slower than originally targeted leading to lower than expected profitability over this period. On this basis we expect H2 adjusted EBITA profit to be in the range of £8m to £11m.”

Mr Ashmore, who was appointed on 1 June, said, “The new leadership team is currently conducting a thorough review of the Group’s strategy to gain profitable share in what remains an attractive and fragmented market. We will update the market on the outcome of this process during Q4 17.”

August 25, 2017

Seddons’ Best campaign

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 7:45 am

Seddons is offering reduced prices on more than 100 of its best-selling products until the end of October.

Its Best Deals campaign is targeted at customers in the hire, construction, facilities management and grounds care markets, and includes construction and landscaping equipment, replacement parts, accessories and consumables, from brands such as Altrad Belle, Honda Power Equipment, Husqvarna, JCB, Pramac, Stihl (pictured) and Taskman.

August 22, 2017

GAP’s record turnover

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 2:56 pm

GAP Group has reported record annual turnover, and its second highest-ever profits, in the year ending 31 March. Turnover rose by 11% from £157.7m to £175m, with pre-tax profits increasing from £15.8m to £17.1m.

Chairman Danny O’Neil said that new divisions launched by the company in recent years, complementing its traditional plant and tool hire operations, now accounted for 30% of overall revenues and an even greater proportion of profit. These activities include welfare services, surveying and safety, lifting and non-mechanical equipment such as crowd control barriers and temporary fencing.

August 18, 2017

PPC Stars acquires Abnix

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 9:29 am

Digital marketing agency, PPC Stars, has acquired website developer Abnix Solutions as a subsidiary company. It says the move will enable it to offer its services to hirers throughout the UK.

Abnix Solutions created a website package specifically for the tool and plant hire industry, to provide a self-maintainable system, a user-friendly site, website hosting and full access to the administrative area.

PPC Stars provides services such as pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimisation and social media advertising, as well as website design. It says it will now be able to provide additional support to existing Abnix customers while continuing the growth of both businesses.

August 16, 2017

Hire Station adds Trime lights

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 9:30 am

Hire Station has added X-Eco LED lighting towers from Trime UK to its fleet after evaluating models from several manufacturers.

“At first, we were a little cautious about entering the LED lighting tower market, and wanted to determine how receptive our clients were to the LED units that were available,” said Procurement Manager, Paul Smith. “To meet initial demand, we had opted to re-hire conventional metal halide lighting sets, until LED units had evolved sufficiently to provide a satisfactory and future-proof solution. The growing utilisation in this sector, and the developments in LED technology, have given us the confidence to invest further in this area.”

Hire Station chose the X-Eco because of its compact design and fuel-saving potential, as well as its reduced carbon emissions. The lights will be delivered in Hire Station’s livery and the company will target both the construction and events markets with the machines.

August 9, 2017

HSE dust summit

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 8:33 am

The Health & Safety Executive is to hold its Workplace Healthy Lungs Summit 2017 on 22 November at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster.

The organisation says lung disease remains a serious problem in the workplace, contributing to an estimated 12,000 deaths a year. The event will describe what HSE is doing about it and what can done to address the issue, as well as giving an opportunity for delegates to share experiences and good practices with other professionals from their industries.

The Summit is aimed at Health & Safety professionals, occupational health advisors, trade bodies, manufacturers of respiratory risk solutions, and representatives from industry sectors such as construction, manufacturing and quarries. Delegates can register before 1 September at a discounted rate. For more details, visit www.hsl.gov.uk/healthy-lungs or call 01298 218806.

August 2, 2017

Snorkels for Banner Plant

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 3:16 pm

Banner Plant, which has its headquarters in Dronfield, has added four Snorkel electric scissor lifts to its fleet.

The machines comprise two S3215E machines and a pair of Snorkel S3220E models, which will be deployed at the company’s specialist powered access fleets based at its Rotherham and Derby depots.

The S3215E delivers a maximum working height of 6.6m and a lifting a capacity of up to 272kg, while the S3220E can lift 408kg to a working height of 8.1m. Phil James, pictured,  of Banner Powered Access said, “I have barely seen the new Snorkel lifts as they are all constantly out on hire and our customers love them.”

July 28, 2017

A-Plant places significant JCB order

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 7:38 am

JCB reports that it has secured one of its biggest-ever deals in the UK, with an order from A-Plant for more than 1,200 machines and a range of generators said to be worth more than £55m.

The order includes more than 600 Loadall telescopic handlers and over 450 mini and midi excavators, as well as rough terrain forklifts, site dumpers, backhoe loaders, tracked excavators and 162 generators from JCB Power Products for the hirer’s expanding Mather+Stuart Power Solutions division.

This latest deal means that, in the last three years, A-Plant has placed orders with JCB worth more than £140m.

July 23, 2017

Morris on summer tour

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 2:39 pm

Morris Site Machinery will undertake a Towers on Tour initiative during August to demonstrate its latest lighting towers to existing and potential customers.

The event will spotlight the manufacturer’s SMC TL90 Ultimate machine, which offers over 20 variants to allow customers to meet individual requirements. The machine is fitted with LED lights and is designed for increased fuel capacity and extended running time. To see where and when you can see the machine in action, ring 0345 515 0103.

July 11, 2017

Elavation gets a lift

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 9:11 am

Access equipment hirer, Elavation, has expanded its fleet of Hinowa tracked boom lifts with the addition of a Lightlift 15.70 Lithium model.

The Milton Keynes-based company has chosen the 15m machine because of its compact dimensions and low ground pressure, making it suitable for work in shopping centres, atriums, and historic buildings.

Julie Hennessy, Business Development Manager, said: “The Lithium models are increasingly popular with our customer base due to their emissions-free operation. One of the 15.70’s first jobs was in a church, which is a great example of its specialist capabilities.

“We see tracked booms as a growing niche, as more people become aware of their performance and their ability to solve complex access problems.”

The machine was supplied by APS, the UK distributor for Hinowa equipment.

July 10, 2017

New MCS website

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 5:43 pm

Hire software supplier, MCS, has launched a re-designed website as part of a new corporate branding. It also reflects the increased global dimension of the business, which was founded in 1983.

The site, at www.mcs.co.uk, gives details of the company’s software and the increased incorporation of new technologies to add more functionality for users. It also has a Resources section giving access to guides explaining benefits the products can provide.

MD Guy van der Knaap said: “We hope that MCS’ new image and branding will reflect the future direction of our business and help us to reach out to new clients, wherever they may be. The new website is the perfect platform to showcase our wide range of software solutions and share how widely they are being used.”

July 5, 2017

Mobile Mini expands in Bridgend

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 10:40 am

Mobile Mini, which specialises in hiring portable site accommodation and secure storage containers, has re-located its Bridgend branch.

Situated on a four-acre site, the new premises consist of offices, two workshops with spray-painting equipment, shot blasting facilities and improved storage space for units in the hire fleet.

The company has its UK headquarters in Stockton-on-Tees and ha 16 depots throughout the country. It recently invested £1m in additional Groundhog mobile welfare units manufactured by Genquip.

Mobile Mini MD, Chris Morgan, says that continuing growth has led to the company reviewing its facilities at a number of its branches, and expects further depot re-locations in the future as a result.

June 30, 2017

Coates increases Morris lighting fleet

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 3:47 pm

Morris Site Machinery has supplied Australia’s largest equipment hire company, Coates Hire, with an order for 50 more of its extra-low voltage SMC TL90 LED ELV lighting towers to Coates Hire, taking its fleet of TL90s to more than 450.

The ELV model was designed specifically to comply with Australia’s Health & Safety regulations, which included lowering the voltage to only 48V.

Phil Winnington, International Business Director at Morris, “This latest order is testament to strong partnership working with our partner, Allight Sykes. The Australian market has developed in the 12 years since the SMC brand was introduced. Rental companies have recognised the value and reliability of our products and we have built on this reputation by continually improving and providing enhanced end user benefits.”

The manufacturer’s export achievements were recognised recently by The Sunday Times in its annual International Track 200 listing, where Morris was ranked 166.

June 28, 2017

Doosan’s Cesar milestone

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 12:36 pm

A new Doosan DX85R-3 mini excavator has been announced as the 250,000th machine to be marked with the Cesar plant security system in the UK.

It was displayed at the recent Plantworx exhibition, organised by the Construction Equipment Association, which also promotes the scheme. Cesar was developed by Datatag ID and launched in 2007 to help combat the theft of equipment, which was estimated to be costing the industry £1m a week at the time.

Attending the mini’s unveiling at Plantworx was Doosan’s Kim Dudley, pictured left, who was presented with a certificate to mark the occasion by Datatag’s Kevin Howells. Doosan states it was the first construction equipment manufacturer to join the scheme when it so ten years ago. Since then, every one of its machines sold in the UK has been Cesar-marked.

June 23, 2017

Hilti’s Helping Hand

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 8:02 am

Hilti has supplied a selection of its power tools to a national charity which works to provide care for children with complex health needs.

The WellChild organisation runs a scheme called Helping Hands, which arranges essential home and garden makeovers throughout the country, with the support of volunteer teams from local companies and businesses.

Tools provided by Hilti include a TE 30-A36 cordless combi-hammer, plus impact screwdrivers, hammer drill/drivers, a battery-powered circular saw and a laser measuring device.

Pictured, from left, are Hilti Regional Manager Justin Hargreaves, makeover recipients Jane and Joel, and WellChild Project Leader, Lee Trunks, as work gets under way on the latest Helping Hands project in St Austell.

June 21, 2017

Expansion at Rapid Platforms

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 1:10 pm

Rapid Platforms reports that it is investing over £1m in new machines and is expanding its workforce to meet increased demand.

The Hertfordshire-based powered access equipment hirer is adding 24 machines to its fleet as well as two new delivery vehicles and is recruiting four new employees including two service engineers, a truck-mount operator, and a hire desk apprentice. This brings its total staff count to 32 people.

Operations Director Jim Jones says the investment is due to an increase in business during the past year, and positive prospects for the next 12 months.

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