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Tool Hire & DIY


Shropshire Plant Hire Firm Goes into Administration

Here at Anything for Hire News, our aim is to keep our readers informed on what is going on in the hire and rental industry. But, unfortunately, it is not all rainbows and unicorns, with this week seeing the closure of a large, reputable plant hire firm in Shropshire.

Regrettably, Hawk Plant (UK) is now under the control of administrators, with Sam Woodward, Alex Williams and Hunter Kelly of EY’s restructuring team managing the process.

83 job losses

According to sources, the Prees-based company is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, with 83 out of the firm’s 420 employees having already been laid off this month.

While evidently in troubled waters, this news has come as a surprise to many. This is mainly due to the fact that the firm reported a healthy turnover of £93.5m in the financial year ending in December 2017. And with over 40 years of experience in the infrastructure, energy and homebuilding markets, many expected Hawk Plant (UK) to have stamped their name in the plant hire industry indefinitely.

Joint administrator, Sam Woodward, said the following:

“The group’s cashflow had been impacted by a number of historical problematic contracts and a delay in the commencement of anticipated projects.

Coupled with this, the group’s funding structure, with significant hire purchase and finance lease commitments put pressure on the cashflow at a time that asset utilisation was comparatively low.”

The business is now looking for a buyer to take over the company. This purchase will also include Hawk Plant (UK)’s five subsidiary businesses. However, who the buyer will be is anyone’s guess.

What does this mean for the UK plant hire industry?

Let us know what you think about this story by leaving your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.


HSS Hire to Sell Subsidiary for £60M

Popular tool and plant hire firm, HSS Hire, has this week been given the all-clear to sell one of their subsidiary businesses.

According to sources, Leicestershire-based Nationwide Platforms, a subsidiary of the Loxam Group, is set to acquire UK Platforms from HSS Hire. While little details have been revealed, sources say the firm is to be sold for a healthy £60.5 million.

Relieving itself of the responsibilities owning UK Platforms entails, the rental firm will now look to streamline its operations. Having found themselves in quite a substantial debt, the brand can now focus on tool hire and tool hire only.

HSS chief executive Steve Ashmore said the following:

“Today’s announcement is another step forward.

“It will accelerate progress against our strategic priorities, enabling further deleveraging through debt reduction and allow greater focus on our core tool hire business.

“The UK Platforms business has made an excellent contribution to the Group over recent years, but considering our priorities and focus on tool hire we feel it will reach its full potential under new ownership.

“We will continue to provide our customers with all of their powered access needs through our existing fleet and the new strategic partnership with Nationwide” he continued.

The sale is expected to be completed this year, with HSS being free of the brand by the end of 2019.

However, this is not a straight sale. As part of the deal, HSS has decided to enter into a long term, strategic commercial agreement with Nationwide Platforms. They have agreed to provide powered access equipment to add to HSS’s forever-growing fleet.

Let us know what you think. Is this a good move for HSS Hire? Or, should HSS Hire be further diversifying their investment portfolio? Leave your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments below.


Speedy Hire Acquire Scottish Training Provider

Speedy Hire, one of the biggest tool and equipment hire brands in the UK, has this week announced details of their newest venture, deciding to make another addition to their investment portfolio. According to the firm, they have acquired a respectable Scottish training firm; Geason.  

Aiding the growth period that they find themselves in, Speedy Hire sees purchasing the Glasgow-based construction and professional services training firm as a strategic move.  

Who are Geason?  

With strong connections and affiliates in the construction, infrastructure and industrial markets, investing in Geason is a wise move.  But, what can they offer Speedy in the shape of a RIO (Return on Investment)?.  

Well, in essence, Geason offers flexible, progressive learning for the construction industry. And, while they are headquartered in Glasgow, they deliver training services successfully across the UK. Currently, 1,100 apprentices and 500 NVQ are utilising Geason’s services, with their programmes heavily in demand across the country. 

Plus, when it comes to revenue, the firm seem to be doing pretty well. In the 12 months leading up to October 2018, Geason reported revenue of £8.3m. Earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation stood at £1.7m and gross assets were reported to be worth £2.6m. 

Having the training business within their group will allow Speedy Hire to better train and develop their workforce internally, further supporting the growth of Speedy’s services businesses.  

Russell Down, CEO of Speedy, says the following the news of the acquisition: 

“This acquisition expands our training services offering and allows us to deliver flexible, progressive training programmes to support customers across the UK. 

“I warmly welcome Ian, Robert and Geason employees to Speedy.” 

Let us know what you think. Is this a good investment for Speedy Hire? Leave your thoughts and comments below.  


Speedy Hire Delivers Strong Growth Figures

While plant and tool hire firms are generally reporting times of bad business, Speedy Hire are happy to be defying convention. This week, Speedy Hire has announced that their profits have almost doubled, thrilled to be telling a story of success as they approach the New Year.

Drawing on stats from the first-half of the year, pre-tax profits for the six months up to September rose to £13.2m. This is up from £6m when compared to last year. The firm claim to have twice as many customers as 2017, having grown their customer base at a rapid rate to get to these figures.

Seeing a substantial spike in revenue also, Speedy Hire say revenue rose 6% to £194.6m.

Having made many tweaks to the business over the last year, these figures evidently show how well strategic alternations are paying off.

‘These results demonstrate the progress we have made in implementing a customer focused strategy and growing our SME customer base,’ chief executive Russell Down said.

‘We have further improved our customer service proposition and the use of technology to better manage the business and meet market challenges.’

‘We remain confident of delivering a result for the full year in line with our expectations.’

Wanting to position themselves as a modern, innovative brand that puts their customers first, Speedy Hire launched an incredible service earlier this month. The ‘4 Hour London Delivery Service’ does what it says on the tin; gives customers their products within 4 hours of placing their hire. And, if the Speedy Hire do not get to the customer within the day, they will get compensation in the form of a week’s free hire!

This service is just one part of Speedy Hire’s ‘Capital Commitment’ initiative; a scheme that sees their products become more readily available to customers across the UK.

Let us know what you think, is more greatness on the horizon for the plant and tool hire company?

Travis Perkins Sell Tool and Clothing Hire Business

Travis Perkins, one of the UK’s leading builders’ merchants, has this week announced that they have sold one of their businesses. According to sources, Birchwood Price Tools, a tool hire and workwear brand, will no longer be under Travel Perkin’s control, sold to a south-west firm.

Purchased by Travis Perkins back in 2011, the business has only been under the brand’s reign for 7 years. Now, BPT will be owned by tools supplier and distributor, Toolstream. Though a successful brand with customers all over the country, the sum paid for the company has yet to be revealed.

Happy to see this acquisition take place, Matt Hunt, BPT managing director, said the following:

“The trust that customers are placing in BPT, the pull from tradespeople and skilled professionals for BPT’s brands and the company’s results, are all speaking for themselves as the company goes from strength to strength.

“This is an exciting new chapter for our company and teams. Travis Perkins was clear it would only sell BPT to an organisation that would value our brands and our people, and that would offer the expertise and support to help us to continue to develop and implement our ambitious growth plans.”

But, ‘who are Toolstream?’ we hear you ask. Well, Toolstream is another credible brand within the industry. BPT will now be a part of Toolstream’s ever-growing portfolio of successful businesses. This includes Triton, GMC, Dickie Dyer, Task and Bench Dog.

Hunt added: “We’re delighted that Toolstream has acquired us. Under our new ownership we will continue to improve our overall proposition and partnership approach, which will benefit, first and foremost, our existing valued and loyal customers who have been reselling our brands, in many cases, for years.

“We will also look to develop new relationships with organisations that we’ve not previously supplied, leveraging our expertise and proven success in a number of sectors.”

Let us know what you think, was this a good move for the tool hire brand?


A new Chairman for Speedy Hire

Speedy Hire, one of the most reputable tool hire businesses in the country, has this week announced that they have welcomed a new Chairman, David Shearer. Shearer will succeed Jan Åstrand as Chairman as of October 1st 2018, already telling of his big plans for his new role.

A new chapter in the Speedy Hire story

While having experienced a rocky few years when it comes to profits, it does appear that this appointment coincides with news of more successful trading. According to reports, the first quarter of the year brought flourishing times for the business, seeing hire revenue and services revenues up by 5.5% and 8.4%, respectively.

Boasting healthier books, the company feels now is the right time to make some changes to the board, starting with Shearer.

Commenting on the appointment Jan Åstrand said:

“I am pleased to welcome David to the role of chairman.

“He is a valued member of Speedy’s board, with considerable external experience.

“I am confident in his ability to lead the board in building on the solid foundation established during Speedy’s recovery and helping achieve the next stage of its growth.”

Just a pleased with his appointment was Mr Shearer himself. Following the announcement, he said:

“I am delighted to be taking over from Jan as chairman of Speedy as we embark on the next phase of delivering the company’s growth strategy and look forward to working with Russell Down and the board in the years ahead.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to offer thanks to Jan for guiding Speedy through the last four years and wish him well for the future.”

2018:  A defining year for Speedy Hire

With sales on track to exceed targets set, and with a recent £15.2m investment in new equipment, 2018 is set to be a defining year for the tool hire brand. Let us know what you think on this subject by leaving your thoughts and opinion below.


Bedford hire business scoops national award

Whether you are a startup, growth business or well-established firm, the idea of winning an award is rather exciting. Signalling that you are doing well in your particular niche, awards mean a lot to both businesses and their customers. This is why family-run hire business, Chiltern Hire Centre Ltd, were thrilled to romp home with the Best Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility y (CSR) accreditation at the Hire Association Europe Awards of Excellence. Presented with the award at a glittery event in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, the ceremony was hosted by BBC sports correspondent, Chris Hollins, seeing over 400 guests attend.  

A responsible hire brand

Beating some of the most well-known brands in their space, the company’s unique way of running their business seems to have paid off. According to officials, the independent tool and plant hire company take a keen interest in sustainability, implementing their own strategies to ensure their business has a positive impact on the environment, customers, employees, community as well as suppliers. In addition, the team have been working with a number of local charities, evidently taking CSR very seriously. 

Peter Dilley, managing director, said:

“The HAE Awards are very prestigious and it was an honour to be named finalists, let alone winners! 

“We are a very small, family-run company and as such we cannot fund CSR policies to the same degree as the larger, national hire companies. However, we recognise the importance of sustainability and our responsibility for effecting change with our company beliefs, practices and profits. It’s a cliché, but it’s all about trying to make the world a better place.”

We at Anything for Hire would like to say a huge congratulations to the team and look forward to sharing more of their success stories in the future. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on CSR in the hire industry. Should independent brands be doing more for the environment?  


Newport plant hire firm, LDH Plant sold for £1.2m

The Welsh hire industry is a fascinating place to work of late, having given the UK some of the biggest and most innovative businesses in the space. This week, a Newport-based plant hire firm has announced that it has been acquired; sold for a respectable £1.2m.

The Welsh business, LDH Plant, is now owned by Yorkshire firm, Ward Woolston. The deal was made possible by the injection of an HSBC funding package; one that we see the meeting of two wonderful hire business minds. This has allowed Ward Woolston to add South Wales to its ever-growing portfolio, already operating in Bristol, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire.

Ambitious plans

Wanting to become the biggest plant hire business of its kind, Ward Woolston are planning to reach a turnover of £5m over the course of the next five years, believing this investment to help them on their way to such an ambitious figure.

Scott Woolston, managing director of Ward Woolston, displayed a great level enthusiasm when making the announcement. Talking to the press, he said:

“We’re thrilled to have joined forces with LDH Plant and look forward to expanding our operations and services into South Wales.

“We have achieved consistent growth year-on-year and are working to enhance this progression in the near future.”

Tony Leech, HSBC’s area director for business banking in the north, was just as excited to see this deal closed.

“Scott Woolston and his team have a fantastic growth forecast, and the creation of new job roles within the business is positive news for the South Wales job market.

“We’re delighted to have played our part in the expansion of the group” he said.

With the two businesses currently enjoying a combined turnover of £16m; the bar is certainly set high for this new venture. Let us know what you think; will this acquisition result in a £5m turnover in the next 5 years?


Tool hire business invests £8m in JCB fleet

Popular builders’ merchants, Jewsons, this week announced that it has invested a further £8m in its hire division.

Purchasing 500 JCB machines, the business will now be offering a vast range of JCB variations across the country. The £8m reportedly covered the purchase of the following vehicle types: 

15C-1 mini excavators  
JCB 8008 micro excavators 
IT-HT site dumpers 
VMT160-80 compactors  
HTD5 dumpsters 

In a plea to diversify their rental offering, Jewsons have been making various changes to the business. From investing in vehicles and tools for hire to welcoming a new Managing Director, Jewsons are going to great lengths to cement their name as the go-to firm for tool and equipment hire.
As the first business to invest in the 15C-1 mini excavator and IT-HT site dumpers, Mr Pedersen, director of tool hire said:  

“This is a significant investment which makes our fleet of micro and mini excavators and dumpers one of the most modern in the industry. We are committed to offering our customers the most powerful and up-to-date machines around and this investment delivers on this promise. 

“We selected JCB machines after extensive research into a number of suppliers. We have operated JCB mini and micro excavators, dumpers and compactors for many years and they have proved to be an invaluable part of our fleet.” 

Equally as excited to welcome these new additions to Jewson’s fleet is JCB’s UK and Ireland sales director, Steve Smith. Handing the vehicles over, he said:  

“We are delighted to win this repeat business from Jewson’s Tool Hire division. JCB has supplied machines to the company for many years and it’s a testament to the quality of our range of mini and micro excavators and compaction equipment that we’ve secured this valuable business again.” 

Let us know what you think, have Jewsons made a sound investment? Leave your comments with us.


Hiring vs Buying: Top reasons to hire equipment

As our name would suggest, we at Anything for Hire are passionate about the rental world, eager to sing the praises of both great hire businesses as well as the hiring model in general.

One of the areas we have been placing a huge focus on of late is the equipment hire industry, ensuring both established firms and startups are aware of the many equipment hire possibilities at hand.

If you are torn between renting and purchasing equipment to take your business forward then here are a few details that may swerve you towards the rental market.

  • Reduce capital expenses and allocate your money into areas in which you will get the best return on your investment.
  • Only hiring pieces of equipment for jobs they are needed for ensuring no wasting of company capital, allowing businesses to clearly define profits for each specific job.
  • By renting you do not have to worry about issues such as maintainable, repairs, depreciation or resale value.
  • Leasing equipment sees that you can use the latest technology and features without parting with huge sums of cash, or being stuck with an older, less effective model. With many lease options updating the product on a regular basis renting can see your business stay ahead of the trend.
  • With depreciation values on expensive equipment being so dramatic renting is often a more cost-effective solution.

So, if you are a contractor in need of new equipment be sure to compare rental rates before making a decision.