Loxam managing director Stéphane Henon has described the company's decision to take a 25% stake in Brazilian company Degraus as "a good opportunity for the next 20 years".

In a move that has surprised some industry observers, the link up with the family owned rental business is Loxam's first deal in South America and only its second outside Europe in its history.

Moreover, Brazil is currently going through a prolonged economic downturn despite commercial opportunities such as last year's football World Cup and the Rio Olympics and Paralympics in 2016.

But Mr Henon told International Rental News: "We are an industrial player. We are not there for three years or five years, we're there for the next 20 years.

"If we had been looking short-term, we might have been scared by the Brazilian market.

"But Degraus is a well managed business and the owner has been very reasonable in the way he has driven his company. You get big ups and big downs in some markets, but this is a good opportunity for the next 20 years.

"Rental will develop in Brazil, that's for sure. There could be some consolidation in the Brazilian market - that's typically what happens when business is not so good. But we will open more branches in the next five years and continue looking for other companies to acquire."

The full interview with Mr Henon, including the latest on the company's European acquisitions in Denmark and the Netherlands, will be in the April-May 2015 issue of IRN.

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