Paulo Esteves, sales and marketing manager for Solaris, told IRN that the company would invest US$12 million this year in a range of different brands of excavators, dozers and motor graders, with around 1000 units in the fleet by December this year. Equipment will range from small excavators to 20 and 30 t models.
The investment in earthmoving equipment is part of a major three-year, US$120 million investment plan announced by the company earlier this year. Half of that sum is earmarked for aerials - the current 1300 unit fleet will be increased by 40% this year, said Mr Esteves - and the rest will be spent on earthmoving equipment, telehandlers and gensets.
The move into earthmoving is a natural one for the company, because it is owned by Sullair Argentina, which already rents aerials, generators, lighting towers and earthmoving machines. Solaris started by renting aerials and scaffolding (under its old name, Mills Rental) and now has the largest access fleet in Brazil. It added generators in 2001 and has around 300 units totaling 250 MW.
The earthmoving equipment will play into growth in Brazil's infrastructure market, which is among the largest and fastest growing in South America. Infrastructure spending in Brazil could reach US$225 billion over the next three years, according to Merrill Lynch.