Private equity firm Advent International has divested its 72% shareholding in Spanish rental company HUNE, selling its stake to HUNE's managers for a nominal €1.

The sale, reported by Spanish website Cotizalia.com, was confirmed to IRN by Advent. An Advent spokesperson told IRN that the sale took place in November but was not announced as negotiations were underway with HUNE's banks, Banesto and Royal Bank of Scotland.

HUNE carries around €500 million in debt, with both banks providing up to €80 million each of debt. Pedro Torres, managing director of HUNE's aerial platform division and one of the senior management team, told IRN that a refinancing of the company was completed last year but that a "deeper restructuring" of the debt was now being negotiated with its banks.

Mr Torres said; "The company is stable and we are working normally. The only problem is that we are based in Spain..." He told IRN that HUNE had shed around 20-25% of its workforce, reduced its depot network to 65 locations, and cut its aerial platform fleet by 2500 units in the past two years.

The Spanish market is "still very bad", said Mr Torres, who added that HUNE would have a better result in 2010 because of its reduced costs. He also said that the the weakness of some of its small and medium size competitors could reduce the degree of competition in the market, with both HUNE and GAM likely to gain market share.

HUNE is the second largest rental company in Spain after GAM. It was created in 2007 by the merger of Euroloc, Gruas Homs, Nacanco and Umesa.

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