First signs of rental buying in Europe says Haulotte
By Murray Pollok25 March 2011
Haulotte said it was seeing the first signs that the larger European rental companies are starting to refresh their access fleets, following the lead of the major US renters. The company expects to double its global production this year.
Alexandre Saubot, chief executive officer of Haulotte Group, speaking at the company's Conexpo press conference, said the big US renters started reinvesting in the third quarter of 2010 and that "since the end of last year we have seen European companies moving forward in that direction."
Haulotte is forecasting around 25% growth in revenues in 2011 and is expecting to reach operational break-even point after several years of losses. "We see that all markets will significantly improve in 2011. The best news is that Europe will start growing. I'm not saying that Spain will grow or Greece will grow, but overall we are seeing the first signs."
He said sales in all its markets would be double digit, led by Brazil, which is in the process of doubling its access rental fleets over a two year period. Last year Brazil, Australia and North America were Haulotte's fastest growing markets.
Although forecasting 25% growth, the company will have to double production because last year it was able to meet growing demand by selling excess machines from stock. With that inventory now largely gone, Haulotte will have to significantly increase production.
Haulotte is currently operating at 20% of its capacity and Mr Saubot said it would not be difficult to increase staffing levels at its facilities; "Even with this increase, we will remain very low compared to 2007".
More challenging will be supply chain issues. He said Haulotte had been talking to suppliers about possible production increases since the middle of last year.
North America will be a particular challenge, since Haulotte is strongest in the small to mid-sized rental sector where there has not yet been the same return to fleet investment as among larger renters. Mr Saubot said reinvestment was becoming essential because of the age of US rental fleets, but he acknowledged that still tight availability of finance for independent rental companies made the outlook more uncertain.
He said Haulotte was targeting a 10% share of the North American rental market over the coming years. It has a new senior management team comprising general manager Michael Kuharik and ex-Genie veterans Steve Gooding and Bernie Duque.
It has also recently expanded its Frederick, Maryland, headquarters with a new call centre, parts operation, training centre and product showroom.