Potts targets higher prices at Lavendon

By Maria Hadlow11 February 2011

Mike Potts, chief executive of Lavendon Access Services.

Mike Potts, chief executive of Lavendon Access Services.

Mike Potts the new chief executive of UK rental company, Lavendon Access Services, is committed to raising rental rates in 2011 but plans only modest spending on new equipment.

"Obviously the market is very competitive and we need a reason for putting rates up," he said. "Andy [Wright, chief executive international operations and previously in Mr Potts role] and the team have achieved an amazing amount in a short space of time," and Mr Potts says that he wants to build on this: focusing on service, reliability and safety and using this as the basis to increase rental rates.

Mr Potts aims to deliver a "world class performance," in service and delivery, "A hired piece of capital equipment can be on the critical path of a project," he said, "brake down or late delivery can have a serious knock-on affect.

"Lavendon is probably one of the best, but I'm sure it could be even better, we should strive for Japanese levels [of performance]. The size of the company means we can do that together with our excellent team of engineers."

Mr Potts said he was committed to increasing levels of safety both internally and to customers. He cited the work being carried out on developing accessories for Lavendon's aerial work platforms such as pipe and sheet carriers, and into collision and trapping avoidance. "These are huge areas of development," he said "and justify higher pricing."

Mr Potts woukld not give figures in regard to investment in new fleet, "There will be some replacement and a little growth," he said. "The fleet is not old and we have a very strong in-house engineering base which means we can keep the machines running well and longer."

In his first five weeks in his new role Mr Potts has had to contend with takeover bids from TVH and then TVH and Ashtead. He admitted that a lower share price will always make a company vulnerable to this type of bid but said that the shareholders came to a quick conclusion on who they wanted to back. "The shareholders had faith in future returns," he said, "which was reassuring for everyone.

"They accepted that Lavendon has a strategy and that [share] value should increase in the foreseeable future."

Read the complete interview with Mike Potts in the Mach/April issue of Access International

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