Sunbelt expands into film rentals in UK

By Euan Youdale05 October 2022

Sunbelt has acquired UK-based specialist TV and film rental company Media Access Solutions (MAS).

The buyout will see Tim Kendall, founder and managing director, of MAS staying on to run the company, which Sunbelt has committed to expand. As such, all 28 employees at MAS and its three branches will be retained, and it will continue to operate under the same brand.

Two of MAS' new HS18E Pro models Media Access Solutions’ Haulotte HS18E Pro scissors

Kendall, who started MAS in 2017, said Sunbelt was seeking to expand into the film and TV market, which it sees as recession proof, and is making a range of other acquisitions related to the film and TV market, which will allow it to become a one-stop-shop for customers.

Last year MAS, which has a fleet of 500 aerial platforms, reported a revenue of close to £11 million, which was part of the attraction for Sunbelt. Kendall told AI, “There were no plans to sell. We had a record year in 2021; we had a seven-year plan and we were looking at acquisitions ourselves. Then Sunbelt made us an offer back in March.”

According to Kendall, the offer, which has not been disclosed, was an excellent one. “Every deal I have known in this industry has had some sort of deferment. This was a pure cash upfront deal, which is unheard of.”

In hindsight, Kendall said the offer from Sunbelt had come at just the right time, as the UK rental industry grabbles with a range of challenges. “The day to day running of a plant hire company is getting harder and harder,” Kendall explained, due to a combination of increasing material prices, a stretched supply chain and the worsening wider economy. The situation is pushing prices up across the board, compounted by a ban on red diesel for road vehicles in the UK and the cost of property rental, to name two examples.

However, as Kendall pointed out, the TV and film sector is bucking that trend. He sees the potential, with Sunbelt’s support and huge international footprint, to make MAS a global concern. “The capex they have offered us for 2023 is very supportive. With what Sunbelt has in North America, the potential is limitless.”

Listen to the podcast interview with Tim Kendall about the UK TV and film access rental sector. 

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