Rotarent – the rental arm of Finnish equipment distributor Rotator Oy – is growing its rental fleet of large earthmoving equipment in response to changing behaviours of Finnish contractors.
The company, which was started five years ago, focuses on the rental of larger excavators (above 10 tonnes) from Hitachi and compaction rollers from Bomag.
Jari Valtanen, Managing Director of Rotator, told IRN that large Finnish contractors had, in the past, agreed collectively not to rent large earthmoving equipment so as to suppress the rental market for these machines; “In this way, they prevented foreign contractors from tendering for major government construction projects because they would not have easy access to equipment.”
However, in recent years this has been changing as a new generation of people have moved into the contractors’ management teams. “They are perhaps unaware of the history and so now they do rent larger equipment,” said Valtanen.
In light of this, Rotarent has been growing its fleet of larger equipment; over the past two years, the fleet has doubled in size to 100 units. Rotarent is growing the number of both excavators and compaction rollers, though the emphasis is on excavators.
This year, Rotarent hopes to grow its fleet by a further 20%, according to Valtanen. Although this depends on the macroeconomic situation in Finland and the rest of the world, Valtanen said, “When it comes to importing equipment, Rotator has flexibility because it has the option to sell equipment as well as rent it, helping to moderate the risk associated with deciding how much to import.”
This is a niche for Rotarent since the company’s competitors, such as Cramo, are focused on the rental of smaller equipment.
Rotator Sales Director, Lifts and Cranes, Vesa Valtonen, who has been with the company for 33 years, said that about 10% of construction equipment in Finland is rented, and the remaining 90% is owned. However, the rented proportion is growing – a few years ago, just 5% was rented.
Valtonen said, “Contractors that rent will be more competitive because rental makes them more flexible and so they will outcompete contractors who don’t rent.
“Rental will eventually dominate.”