Loxam saw a slight recovery of its rental business in the final two quarters of 2013 but not enough to prevent a 2.8% fall in revenues to €805 million for the year. EBITDA profits were down 10.1% to €239 million.
The business - the largest equipment rental company in Europe - reported in Paris today that the French market, where it generates 85% of its revenues, remained an uncertain one with total construction forecast to fall by between 0.5 to 2.3% this year.
Revenues at the group recovered in the third and fourth quarters of 2013, with 2% growth in each. These increases followed three straight quarters of falling sales, including a 14% year-on-year reduction in France in the first quarter of 2013.
Its specialist divisions – including access, power, accommodation, events and heavy construction machines – performed relatively better, with full year revenues steady at €138 million compared to 2012.
Likewise its international divisions were stable, with revenues rising marginally to €119 million. (The figures do not include the recently acquired Dansklift business, with operations in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.)
Loxam’s general rental business in France saw the largest fall in 2013, with revenues down 4.2% to €571 million.
The company said the focus in 2014 would be continued organic growth in its specialist business and international operations, while in France it will continue to focus on operational efficiency.
It will also continue to renew its fleet, a process that has been underway for several years. Capital expenditure reached €202 million last year, the highest since 2008 and up from €138 million in 2012.
Loxam highlighted several key strategies of the past 12 months, including a shift to one brand for its general rentals operations; continued, modest expansion of its LoxamCity stores – small stores for inner city areas; and an expansion of its Loxam Laho Tec business, which offers suspended access, access towers and formwork. New stores for this division were opened in Lille, Nantes, Toulouse, Cannes and it reported 2013 revenues of €11 million.
The company also went live with its new Wynne Systems rental software system, with 3300 users now using the system in nine countries. Some 1700 staff are now using a new CRM (customer Relationship Management) system in France, with 200 iPads deployed in the field.