Rental giants

19 March 2008

Every year International Rental News compiles a league table of the world's 100 largest rental companies, the IRN-100 – a similar concept to the league table of the N world's largest contractors in this month's iC. C This is just a short extract of the full IRN-100 report, which N can be found in the June edition of International Rental News.

To obtain a copy of the magazine, or to apply for a subscription, please visit our website,

Like iC's ranking of construction companies, the s IRN-100 N says a lot about the state of the industry. Total revenues for the top 100 companies this year came to € 24.7 billion (US$ 34.1 billion), which is about half of the estimated size of the global rental market – € 50 billion (US$ 80 billion).

The total revenues for the IRN 100 have increase by some +21% over the last year – a reflection ection of the fact that rental is a fast-growing industry around the world.

The higher placed companies in the IRN-100 tend to be from N the larger and more mature rental markets, such as the US, Japan and the more northern European countries. The US is by far the largest rental market in the world, and it is no surprise that three of the top five companies in the IRN-100 are from the N US. The largest of these is United Rentals.

There is also a strong Japanese presence in the IRN-100 – 12 N companies in total, the biggest of which is sixth-placed Aktio.

Again this is hardly surprising given that Japan is the second largest construction market in the world.


Another measure of the growth of the rental industry is the amount companies are investing in their fieets, and the year-on-year growth of that spending. According to IRN's research, s the five biggest spenders together invested € 5.1 billion (US$ 7 billion) in 2006, compared to € 4.5 billion (US$ 6.2 billion) in 2005. The top 100 as a whole spent around € 6.6 billion (US$ 9.1 billion) – +20% more than in 2005.

Yet, even if the story is one of growth, there are still very few companies that can genuinely describe themselves as global rental companies, which IRN defines as any company with rental activities in more than one continent. The leader in this list is Ashtead, followed by Aggreko, Finning (including Hewden) and Coates.

It would be fair to describe only Aggreko as a truly global rental business. Caterpillar could also lay claim to being global through its dealer-led Cat Rental Stores. Cat dealer renters represent € 1.4 billion (US$ 1.9 billion) revenues in the top 100 this year.

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