Brazil-based rental giant Mills Estruturas e Serviços de Engenharia (Mills) will invest a further US$71.3 million in its powered access fleet, with deliveries starting in January 2014.

The investment is part of its 2014 capital expenditure budget for Mills’ rental division and will come through a hedging contract to protect it from fluctuations in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Brazilian real. In its 2013 capex budget, the company invested R$241 (US$109 million) in its powered access fleet.

“These new purchase contracts will enable the company to address the strong market demand and to continue its geographic expansion strategy in 2014, through, at least, five new branch openings,” said a company spokesman. This will bring the total number of branches up to 29.

In a recent interview Sergio Kariya, managing director of Mills’ rental divison, told AI that the access equipment sector in Brazil will grow for the next 10 years, despite a slowdown of imports during the second half of 2013 due to the higher exchange of the US dollar.

“But the market will adapt to the new scenario, and it will probably mean an increase in rental rates to keep the same margin that we have had in previous years,” explained Mr Kariya. “So, for the moment we will see smaller companies decreasing their investment; the medium to larger companies will keep on buying - they will stick to their plans.”

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