AFI buys AJ Access Platforms rental business

By Maria Hadlow29 July 2011

UK rental company AFI has strengthened its presence in South Wales by acquiring the powered access rental division of AJ Access Platforms Ltd for an undisclosed figure. In the future the division will operate as A J Rentals.

Tony Mort, who founded AJ Access Platforms Ltd in 1990, will continue to own and operate the powered access machine sales, maintenance of platforms and training sides of the business. AJ Access Platforms will concentrate on the core activity of selling used Access Platforms to customers in Europe and the rest on the world.

"In selling the rental business to AFI it has the chance to be part of a national network," Mr Mort told Access International. "[The rental business] has been running profitably with good people, it will benefit from national contracts and AFI was under-represented in that region so its win-win for everyone."

AJ Rentals has a strong local customer base and a fleet of approximately 400 machines operating from depots in Swansea and Caldicot (near Newport). The AFI acquisition will take its total fleet numbers in the area to over 500 machines.

AFI director Nick Selley said, "Against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate, this acquisition is a further tangible demonstration of our confidence in the future of both AFI as a successful business and the UK powered access rental sector as a whole.

"AJ Rentals is highly regarded and provides strong levels of customer service. Its fleet has been well maintained and, like AFI, the business has a broad industrial and commercial customer base rather than being over reliant on the construction sector.

"Existing AFI customers will gain from now having a stronger presence in Wales and AJ Rentals customers will benefit from having access to one of the most modern powered access rental fleets in the UK."

Key personnel such as John Swift, an industry veteran and the former rental director of AJ Access Platforms Ltd, will be retained by AFI and will head AJ Rentals going forward. The AJ Rentals machines combined with AFI's rental fleet will bring the total fleet to over 4500 units.

Mr Selley told Access International that in regards to other acquisitions, AFI is always looking for opportunities if they present themself, he believes there is good synergy between the AFI and AJ Platforms business, "Both companies have a good reputation for customer service and a modern fleet with an average age of around four and a half years."

The AFI acquisition follows a current year investment of over £5 million in over 500 new access platforms, the latest being 60 Power Tower low-level access machines.

Mr Selley said, "We invested in these new machines because they are right for the needs of the industry, we continue to develop a large actively trading customer base, we dont want to be dependent on a small group of customers... this week we recorded a record number of active customers."

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