Rental news highlights

By Murray Pollok23 April 2008

Shareholders in United Rentals will meet on 19 October in Stamford, Connecticut, US to vote on the proposed sale to private equity company Cerberus Capital Management. United announced the proposed transaction on 23 July. Under the deal, Cerberus will pay US$34,5 per share, which values the business at $6.6 billion, including approximately $2.6 billion of United Rentals' debt.

NES Rentals sold its Traffic Safety and Studio Equipment specialty rental divisions to private equity investors Aperion Management and Falcon Investment Advisors on 3 October. Andrew P Studdert, NES Rentals chairman and chief executive officer, said the sale of the non-core activities would solidify its position in the aerials sector; "This will allow us to invest in the specific lift equipment that our customers require to get their jobs done, quickly and safely."

Compaction equipment manufacturer Bomag of Boppard, Germany announced that it is raising prices "at least three percent". The rise was effective from the beginning of October and affects all current products worldwide. The company, part of the Fayat Group, said international demand has raised the demand for commodities and certain components and that energy and transportation costs are higher. "These cost increases can no longer be offset fully by optimisation processes and internal savings," said Jörg Unger, manager for sales and marketing at Bomag.

Sullair has been appointed exclusive dealer for the TowerLight range of mobile lighting towers in France and will unveil the products at the Batimat exhibition in Paris in November. "We have been urgently seeking a partner to market our products in France for some time," said Paul Hay, TowerLight's business development manager. "We are delighted to welcome Sullair as our latest associate". As part of the agreement, Towerlight's sister company in the UK, GenSet plc, will become a Sullair dealer in the UK.

Jaston Group in the Netherlands, which acquired Cramo's Dutch rental business earlier this year, has acquired Steimach Verhuur, a small general equipment rental company with depots in Tiel and Gorinchem. Steimach's managing director, Marcel van der Laan, will join the Jaston management team. Jaston currently operates under eight different company names, but as from January 2008 all will be rebranded Jaston.

Aggreko has won an additional rental contract in Angola, Africa to provide 90 MW of temporary power for the city of Luanda. The contract with Empresa Nacional de Electricidade (ENE) will be worth US$45 million in 2008, and adds to the existing 30 MW of power that Aggreko is already supplying in Luanda and Cabinda. An initial 30 MW will be installed in December this year, with the balance delivered in 2008.

MVS Zeppelin completed the implementation of Result Group's rentalresult software application in May this year following a successful trial in Berlin last year. The Result system interfaces with the SAP ERP system used by MVS Zeppelin's parent company, Caterpillar dealer Zeppelin. Mr Armin Rappin, managing director of MVS Zeppelin, said the functionality of the system will make "a large contribution to achieve high returns from our fleet and it gives us good opportunities to review our business process to maintain low overheads."

Cat Rental Stores is the latest major rental organisation to sign up to SmartEquip's online aftermarket system. Caterpillar said SmartEquip will be used by its global Cat Rental Store network. The agreement with Caterpillar could well prompt more equipment manufacturers to sign up to SmartEquip. "We expect that an OEM's involvement with SmartEquip will be fundamental in order for them to participate in the exciting global growth of the Cat Rental Stores", said Dale Hill, senior rental consultant at Caterpillar.

A-Plant in the UK has launched the A-Plant Guarantee, "providing customers with guaranteed service levels with regard to Delivery, Service, Availability and Out-of-Hours Response. If A-Plant does not fulfil these service levels, the customer is offered a free hire or free delivery of a range of guaranteed stock items." A-Plant described the guarantee as "one of its most important customer service initiatives ever" and said it was the first of its kind in the UK rental industry.

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