Lavendon buys two UK renters

24 April 2008

Both new acquisitions will operate as UK divisions of Lavendon - alongside Nationwide - under their existing brands and current management. Panther, which has 1300 platforms and six depots, will be run by current managing directors Richard Miller and Brian Fleckney. Kestrel has a fleet of 350 machines and a single depot in Bristol and managing director is Mark May.

Alan Merrell, Lavendon's finance director, told AI that Panther was a profitable business operating in different sectors to Nationwide, particularly the small scissor market, and less dependent on the construction sector. He said collapsing the business into Nationwide would not make sense. Panther's fleet - which has an average age of under 2 years - includes 950 scissors, of which around 650 are under 26 ft (8 m). Panther, Kestrel and Nationwide will share fleet where required.

Panther reported unaudited revenues of £10.4 million (US$18 million) for the year to 31 December 2005, with pre - tax profits of £2.1 million ($3.6 million). Kestrel's turnover for the year to 31 July 2005 was £3.0 million ($5.2 million).

Mr Merrell said Lavendon had significantly reduced its debt over the past two-and-a-half years and now had a balance sheet that would allow for “quite aggressive” growth. He said the UK was the “most buoyant” of its European businesses and would be the target market for any further acquisitions over the next 12 to 18 months.

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