Steve Corcoran, chief executive of Speedy Hire in the UK.

Steve Corcoran, chief executive of Speedy Hire in the UK.

Speedy Hire is moving into the Middle East rental market through an alliance with Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC), the Dubai-based joint venture between UK contractor Carillion and local industrial group Al-Futtaim.

Speedy said the deal gave it a platform to offer rental services to other customers in the region, and to move into "other geographies over time".

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding for Speedy to provide equipment, asset management and site support services to AFC's operations throughout the Middle East.

Steve Corcoran, Speedy's chief executive officer, said the alliance illustrated the benefits of developing very close relationships with its customers; "We have had a Speedy ‘implant' team working with Carillion's local management in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the last six months to understand better its business and develop new ways of working that will support Carillion's growth in the Middle East.

"We see attractive long term growth opportunities in the region and are delighted that this memorandum of understanding provides an opportunity for us to extend the scope of our activities with Carillion outside the UK...We expect this initiative to provide an excellent platform to extend our services to other customers across the Middle East and other geographic territories over time."

Carillion is one of the UK's largest contractors, with annual revenues of £4 billion and operations in the UK, Middle East, North Africa, Canada and the Caribbean. It is also one of Speedy's biggest customers in the UK: last year it acquired Carillion's portable accommodation fleet as part of a five year agreement with the contractor.

Al-Futtaim is one of the largest business group's in the UAE, with interests spanning construction, commercial vehicles, real estate, retain and publishing. Its engineering-related businesses - in addition to Al-Futtaim Carillion - include dealerships with Volvo Construction Equipment and Merlo, and a scaffolding/formwork sales and rental business, Al-Futtaim Engineering.

Meanwhile, at the company's recent AGM, Speedy chairman David Wallis said that the challenging conditions faced by the company continued "although in recent weeks there have been some signs that trading is beginning to stabilize". He said its biggest customers still had strong order books for infrastructure and utilities projects, but added; "the wider construction market, in particular contractors dependent upon the private sector, continues to find conditions very difficult."

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