Rental news highlights

By Murray Pollok23 April 2008

Rental in China is still in its infancy, but the recent BICES exhibition in Beijing, China, attended by over 60000 visitors, provided evidence that its profile is rising, with one of China's biggest equipment manufacturers, Liugong, promoting rental on its stand at the show (see photo). However, according to David Phillips, managing director of Off-Highway Research (OHR), a thriving rental market in China is still "five years away". China's compact equipment sector, meanwhile, continues to grow dramatically, with some observers forecasting that the mini excavator market in China will hit the 50000 a year mark over the next few years, from a current level of 12000 units. Pictured at BICES is the 1660 kg operating weight SWE 15S from Xingsha-based Sunward, one of the prominent manufacturers of mini excavators in China.

Republic of Ireland rental pioneer Bill Begley is one of three rental leaders who will be inducted into the American Rental Association's Rental Hall of Fame at The Rental Show in Las Vegas next February. The induction ceremony will be held at The Rental Show on Tuesday, 12 February at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, US.

The merger of Algeco and Williams Scotsman was completed on Wednesday 31 October following a vote in favour of the deal by Williams Scotsman shareholders on Monday 29 October. The headquarters for the business will be at Williams Scotsman's US office and the company will be led by Williams Scotsman's chief executive officer Gerard Holthaus.

Wynne Systems said more than 50 companies are the now subscribing to the ASP (application service provider) version of its RentalMan rental software product. With RentalMan ASP, Wynne Systems maintains the system on behalf of its customers who access the software through the Web. Wynne said the solution "provides information technology support for hardware, software, high availability and disaster recovery."

Dynapac's new PL 350 T cold planer includes an integrated removable ballast weight that results in a shorter length and improved operator vision at the front end of the planer. The three-wheel planer, powered by a 45 kW (60 hp) Cummins B3.3 engine, has been specifically developed for partial repairs of asphalt and concrete pavements and removing surfaces in buildings. Dynapac said its reduced length made it ideal for work in confined areas and small job sites requiring a small turning diameter. Maximum cutting width is 350 mm at a maximum cutting depth of 100 mm.

Ramirent's Norwegian subsidiary, Bautas, has signed a rental agreement with contractor Veidekke Entreprenor for a three to five year period that could be worth up to NKr 1 billion (€130 million). Bautas will supply up to 80% of Veidekke's equipment needs and generate annual rental revenues of around NKr 200000 (€26 million).

GAM in Spain has acquired a small sound and lighting rental company, Prosec, that it will add to its existing events rental division, GAM Events. Prosec had annual revenues of just €1 million in 2006 but has been growing steadily at 40% per year. The company operates mainly in Northern Spain but has rented equipment all over the country. GAM said the acquisition would reinforce its events division and strengthened its strategy to diversify its rental activities.

Vp plc in the UK has acquired First Engineering's small plant division for £1,2 million (€1,7 million). First Engineering is a railway engineering contractor and subsidiary of Babcock International Group. The plant division, which includes a depot in Glasgow, will become part of Vp's Torrent Trackside business, which rents equipment and services to the UK rail industry. The acquisition will also see Torrent Trackside enter a three year supply agreement with First Engineering for the rental of rail portable plant, trackside lighting and equipment.

German access rental company Mateco has acquired competitor company Straub Mobilmietlift GmbH for an undisclosed price. Straub is based in Reutlingen - just south of Stuttgart, where Mateco is headquartered - and has a fleet of 490 aerial platforms operated from four German and one French location. Straub's owner and managing director, Wolfgang Straub, will not join Mateco following the acquisition. The acquisition boosts Mateco's fleet to almost 3000 aerial platforms.

United Rentals' sale to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management will close in November after the firm received the approval of its shareholders for the deal. At a special shareholders' meeting held last week, approximately 99,8% of votes were in favour of the purchase, representing 76,8% of the total outstanding voting power. Shareholders will receive US$34,50 in cash for each ordinary share.

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