HSS Hire reports final quarter slowdown

By Murray Pollok10 February 2012

HSS Hire reported a 1% fall in revenues in the final quarter of 2011 with business levels affected by significantly lower revenues for heating equipment because of the mild winter.

Revenues for the full year, which were up 5% to £180.2 million, were also impacted by lower air conditioning revenues during the mild summer. Fourth quarter revenues were

The growth slowdown also reflects the fact that year-on-year increases are more difficult to achieve now as 2010 growth reflected increases over 2009 when the UK recession was at its worst.

Before the final quarter of 2011, HSS had reported at least seven quarters of significant growth, posting 5-6% increases in the second and third quarters of 2011 and year-on-year rises of between 12 and 19% in the five quarters before that.

Profits before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were 2% up to £39.8 million for the full year.

HSS said it had achieved revenue growth for the year despite losing the Network rail contract and the milder weather. The company also continued to expand its key accounts business, with revenues up 13% for the year. Key accounts represent a third of all HSS business and it added significant contracts with British Waterways and Enterprise during 2011.

Chris Davies, HSS chief executive officer, said he was pleased with progress in 2011 during a "tough market whilst implementing major change to our logistics and maintenance operation to provide increased fleet availability for our customers.

"2012 will undoubtedly present us with challenging conditions - not least with the unseasonably mild winter continuing into the start of the year - but we are well positioned to keep building our business."

Profits have been impacted by investment in a new logistics and maintenance platform. The company said this new platform will lower costs, help it increase the availability of product for customers, and drive up utilisation rates.

Net capital investment in 2011 was higher than 2011, with powered access being a particular focus, particularly low level platforms for the retail and facilities management markets. HSS said it was now the second largest provider of low-level powered access in the UK.

Also during the year the company launched a range of its own Reintec branded cleaning equipment, which is being rented under long term contracts to cleaning companies under the HSS Outsource programme.

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