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Latest industry news

November 10, 2017

Thwaites gears up to celebrate

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 8:59 am

Thwaites has made a £1m investment in new tooling and machinery at its Leamington Spa plant.

New manufacturing equipment includes laser cutting machine which will increase output by 25% whilst reducing power consumption by 50%, and which will incorporate a nitrogen cutting facility that enables the same head to make incisions from 1mm to 20mm without the need to change its setup, increasing productivity and safety.

The company has also installed an automated welding machine with a specialised controller, enabling the operator to weld over 100 separate components using a 6-axis robot arm for greater efficiency.

MD Ian Brown said, “Investment and innovation are critical success factors for the business. This investment will improve productivity and reduce waste whilst making us even safer and more efficient.”

The company recently celebrated 80 years of dumper manufacture at the plant. To mark the occasion, the business has presented each member of its team with an inscribed presentation pint glass and two locally sourced beers from micro brewer, the Warwickshire Beer Co.

November 8, 2017

Vp buys Brandon Hire

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 9:56 am

Vp plc has announced today that is has acquired of the entire issued share capital of Brandon Hire Group Holdings Ltd and its subsidiaries for a cash consideration of £41.6m, payable on completion and assumed net debt of approximately £27.2m. The acquisition has been funded from new banking facilities with the Group’s lenders.

Established in 1971, Brandon has over 900 employees and operates from 143 locations across the UK. It is focused predominantly on small to medium sized enterprises operating in regional and local geographic markets, and Vp says it is closely aligned to Vp’s own tool hire business, Hire Station.

Vp says the combination of the two businesses will, over the medium term, deliver economies of scale in purchasing and operations, and will create a specialist tool hire business within the UK division of Vp.

For the year ended 31 December 2016, Brandon’s revenues were £79.8m, generating profits before interest, tax, exceptionals and amortisation of £6.0m from gross assets of £50.6m.

November 3, 2017

Hampshire Plant fleet expansion

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 4:20 pm

Hampshire Plant & Access has taken delivery of two skid steer loaders to complete a £1m investment this year to update and expand its fleet.

The purchase of two Gehl R135 skid loaders follows the earlier addition of six boom lifts with working heights from 10m to 21m, ten electric scissor lifts from 6m to 12m, ten excavators, from 2.5 tonnes to 8 tonnes, seven dumpers, from 6 tonnes to 9 tonnes, five telescopic handlers, three rollers comprising 800mm and 120mm models, and six compressors.

The two skid steer loaders have been purchased to meet an increasing demand from landscaping contractors due to their ability to work in areas where space is restricted. Their radial-lift design improves forward reach at the middle of the lift path, making them suitable for loading flatbed trucks, backfilling or discharging over a wall.

October 30, 2017

GAP milestone for AJC

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 5:18 pm

GAP Welfare Services recently celebrated the delivery of its 1,000th EasyCabin mobile welfare unit supplied by AJC Trailers. The hirer’s fleet includes a variety of models ranging in length from 12ft to 20ft.

AJC has been supplying GAP since May 2014. MD Jav Samsa said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed our lasting partnership with the GAP Group. Their input in enhancing and improving the products we offer has been invaluable.”

The presentation at GAP’s Derby depot also included an exact scale model of an EasyCabin 12ft unit finished in the hirer’s livery, which was presented to GAP’s Operations Director Kevin McEwan and Welfare Services Divisional Operations Manager Keith Bodinnar.

October 16, 2017

FLG safety initiative

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 2:10 pm

Lifting and safety equipment hirer, FLG Services, has introduced potentially life-saving portable, public access defibrillators to offer for short hire periods.

Typically, such equipment is available on a long-term lease or has to be purchased. FLG will offer the units for a minimum hire period of one week. They can be used to treat cardiac arrest victims, and incorporate a system that gives real-time visual and verbal feedback to guide the rescuer on cardiopulmonary resuscitation compressions.

FLG has introduced the defibrillators to coincide with a safety week initiative it is running, starting today.

October 11, 2017

CPA hosts dumper forum

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 11:32 am

The latest construction industry forum on forward tipping dumpers took place recently, jointly hosted by the CPA and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association in Solihull.

Following a number of serious incidents involving such machines, the forum followed meetings held last October 2016 hosted by CPA and the Health & Safety Executive, and in January. A number of working groups were subsequently set up, and this most recent forum was held to bring all parties back together, take stock of developments and seek ways of defining measures the industry could adopt.

The two main risks include tackling overturning and improving stability, and to address the risk of individuals being struck by the machines by improving visibility and providing warnings. At the forum it was agreed that a total of seven principles will be used as the basis of an Action Plan, relating to full vision, stability, training, competence, spoil heaps, exclusion and equipment selection.

The CPA has already produced a safe-use guidance document, aimed principally at operators for refresher training purposes, and it was agreed at the forum that an operational Good Practice Guide on Forward Tipping Dumpers would be produced through the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group, administered by CPA.

Other topics discussed included the use of seatbelts and enforcement issues, and the design and strength of cabs which will allow an operator to stay seated when being loaded.

Kevin Minton, Director of the CPA commented: “Through the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group, the CPA will be producing a Good Practice Guide on Forward Tipping Dumpers which will be available as a free download on the CPA website and will be used to support and complement other publications, such as the HSE HSG 144 document regarding the safe use of vehicles on construction sites.”

October 6, 2017

New Trime appointments

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 10:37 am

Lighting tower manufacturer, Trime (UK), has made two new appointments to its team.

Andrew Owen has joined the business as Sales Manager, having most recently worked with Harrington Generators International, and he has previously held sales management roles in organisations predominantly in the power generation and industrial sales markets. He will be responsible for developing the company’s UK’s commercial sales in the event, construction and hire markets.

Also joining the team is Ashleigh Webb, who has been appointed s Marketing Executive. She will initially be responsible for executing various marketing strategies and advancing Trime’s social media activities.

October 2, 2017

Groundhogs for Wernick Hire

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 3:29 pm

Wernick Hire is making an investment of what is reported to be more than £5m in new eco-friendly Groundhog welfare units from Genquip, comprising 110 mobile models and 100 static units over the next 18 months.

The new additions are from Genquip’s Fusion Pulse 30 range, designed to celebrate 30 years since the first Groundhog welfare unit was produced for the UK hire market. They incorporate solar technology to reduce the amount of carbon emitted on sites and to minimise fuel bills for users.

Genquip’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Peter Beach, who is pictured (left) with the hirer’s Deputy MD, Jonathan Wernick, said: “Wernick Hire’s clients will experience an up to 80% reduction in their carbon emissions through the use of hybrid generators and solar panels. They will also benefit from the Groundhog Shield Telemetry system which allows the units to be tracked and monitored on a daily basis. “

September 29, 2017

Hirers vote on CITB Levy

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 2:52 pm

HAE members that are within scope of the CITB Levy have voted to support the Levy proposals for 2018-20. However, the backing given was slim and is conditional on changes at CITB.

Association MD Graham Arundell said, “We polled in-scope members about the proposals and received a mixed response – just a very slight margin in support of the CITB package. It was not an overwhelming level of support and therefore HAE backing is conditional.

“We want the pace of change and reform at CITB to be intensified, with a greater level of support for supply chain specialities, such as hire and rental, and for SMEs. A simpler grants system is also much-needed which responds to market needs and not those of a bureaucracy. Nationally, there remains confusion about the purpose and cost of having both a CITB Levy and an Apprenticeship Levy. We want government and CITB to work together so levy-payers have greater clarity about the respective funds and their allocation.”

September 27, 2017

CPA Conference programme announced

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 3:40 pm

The CPA has announced the speaker programme for its Plant Conference taking place on Tuesday, 31 October at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre, near Solihull.

Speakers from organisations including HS2, CITB, CPA and King’s College London will address issues affecting the hire industry, such as Skills, Training and CITB, Air Quality in London, Plant Operators Supply and Demand, Evolution in Safety Standards, Challenges for 2018 and the Effect of Health on Productivity. Delegate tickets can be booked online at www.cpa.uk.net/conference

September 21, 2017

Kubota minis up to Standard

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 1:59 pm

Croydon-based Standard Plant Hire has brought the number of Kubota minis it has added this year to 70, and now has a total of 240 in its fleet to 240. Its latest purchases cover a range of models including the U17-3a, U27-4, KX027-4, U48-4 and KX080-4a, from 1650kg to 8240kg in weight.

Director Michael Fleming said, “There has been a lot of investment in new housing projects across the south east recently, which has seen the demand for reliable construction equipment continue to grow, with thousands of new homes planned that need electric and gas supply lines installed.”

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.

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