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HSS drive to expand network

PLANT Hirer has cash ready for acquisitions

NATIONAL tool hirer HSS is gearing up for acquisitions, armed with what chief executive Paul Nolan described as 'as much money as we want' to grow the business.

The firm, which boasts 335 depots nationwide, has taken on a mergers and acquisitions specialist to help it build on its £140 million turnover and has also identified 14 new sites for organic growth.

Mr Nolan claimed that in the core tool hire business HSS led the market, with around a 20 per cent share.

Mr Nolan said that the company had taken 12 months to move from a collection of separate divisions to one core business.

He said: 'We have closed 50 stores but increased turnover, saving us £2 million, which effectively goes to the bottom line.

And we are close to selling off the US Rent X business for around £16 million.'

The firm has also relaunched its hire catalogue, ditching the 'one catalogue for every sector' approach of last year.

He said: 'It is now more customerfocused, more professional and looks less like an Argos catalogue. It is more about the customer and less about HSS.'

HSS announced a £23 million investment in new equipment, together with a price freeze for the third year running.

The company has also extended its partnerships with other hire firms to rehire equipment if a customer wants something that is out of their range.

Mr Nolan said: 'Let other companies grub around sectors such as cabins and we will concentrate on core business.'

He added: 'We want to spend the most time on improving service quality. Comparing unit prices between hirers' catalogues is a mug's game.We want to reduce the customer's bill by reducing their quantities of tools and cutting wastage.

'People don't really want to hire tools, they just want to get the damn job done.'

Mr Nolan said HSS was committed to winning national deals, which now account for 10-15 per cent of turnover.