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Brandon Hire targets the majors as profits rise by 28 per cent


TOOL hirer Brandon Hire believes it now has the critical mass to take on its bigger national rivals for the prize business of the major contractors.

Brandon's stated aim is to be the most profitable tool hirer in the sector and its 28 per cent year-on-year increase in operating profits to £5.5 million puts it on course.

The firm believes the past year's expansion, which saw it grow by 32 branches to hit 130 nationwide, has made it a serious contender for more national business.Chief executive Charles Skinner said: 'We have become much more attractive to large customers.We already have the back office systems and now we have increasing geographical coverage that the nationals are looking for.'

Mr Skinner said.'In terms of profitability, we are number two in tool hire, although we are not yet in that position on volume.'

Turnover increased by 23 per cent in the year to December 31 to £48.7 million The firm announced the £985,000 acquisition of the tool interests of Market Harborough plant and tool hirer Harborough Hire.The deal brings Brandon around £1 million-worth of business, plus three depots in Leicester, Kettering and Market Harborough.

Mr Skinner predicted that the business would grow by 20-30 depots in 2005, with the aim of continuing to improve coverage to reach 300 depots.

He said.'We will stick to what we do well, which is tools. But we believe higher density of branch coverage results in better service and a higher operating margin.'