GAM starts renting in Iraq, Chile and Colombia
By Murray Pollok17 September 2010
Spanish rental company GAM is starting to rent in Iraq, Chile and Colombia this month in a continuation of its policy to expand its international business. GAM said its operations outside Spain would generate as much as US$ 60 million this year increasing to US$100-110 million in 2011.
Carlos Araoz, GAM's chief operating officer, told IRN that the new depot in Erbil, in Kurdistan in the north of Iraq would be part funded using US$20 million from a US funding source. "In Iraq I will not have Loxam or Lavendon competing with me. There is an amazing infrastructure plan and oil and gas projects." He said GAM's Saudi Arabian contacts were helping it enter Iraq.
Mr Araoz said there were few security problems in northern Iraq and that the Kurdistan depot would be linked to a new branch in Turkey planned in the coming months.
In South America, the company's new depots in Bogota, Colombia and Santiago, Chile will give GAM access to big infrastructure and mining projects in these countries. "We chase infrastructure programmes", Mr Araoz told IRN.
The new openings bring to 15 the total number of international markets where the company operates.
Mr Araoz said GAM's approach in its international markets was to set up pilot depots close to construction sites rather than in large cities. "We don't go to cities", he told IRN, "We go to construction sites, where roads and bridges are being built. In the markets where we are going to construction sites we're making money from day one. When we start in cities it takes us eight months to make money."
Mr Araoz gave a presentation at the Europlatform access rental conference in Madrid on 16 September in which he urged rental companies to look outside their home markets and exploit opportunities in developing areas.
"If you sit in your home market then you will not get out of the hole...You have to do more than just "hang in there", he said; "I do many things in order to avoid ‘hanging in there'."
He also urged the aerial platform rental companies in the audience to move towards a "thrifty thrifty" rental culture, with lower overheads; "I believe that the aerial business needs to do this. It has been operating in the past in a period of abundance."