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Naval management deal boosts Speedy's firepower

Speedy Hire has continued its quest to redraw the boundaries of equipment hire with the signing of a five-year `equipment facilities management' deal for the Royal Navy at Portsmouth docks, and the launching of a national fleet of mini and micro excavators.
The Portsmouth deal, which will be worth £2-5 million a year to Speedy, covers the management of all equipment at the site, including crane and large platform hire.

Speedy has struck framework deals with crane giant Ainscough, platform hirer AFI and power specialist Aggreko.

It has a team on-site, working with FSL, the `conventional' facilities manager at the dockyard, to manage the equipment via an integrated IT system.

At the same time, the group has launched its first mini excavator fleet, signing a deal with JCB for 125 mini and micro machines up to 1.4 tonnes. These will be matched with a fleet of Thwaites tracked skip loaders.

Chief executive Steve Corcoran said the excavators were a logical expansion. 'It doesn' t mean we are moving into offering our own `plant' because nowadays the mini and micro excavator and tracked dumper have replaced the shovel, pickaxe and wheelbarrow as standard tools, for health and safety reasons as much as anything else.

'We will probably expand the fleet to around 250 machines, but in terms of equipment size, if it doesn' t fit through the garden gate, we won' t be buying it.'

The minis will be offered from 25 strategic depots as part of a restructuring of distribution, Mr Corcoran said.

'All the road-towable equipment, such as bowsers and lighting towers, will be held at the hub depots to allow us to meet the recent towing legislation.'

The Portsmouth naval deal is Speedy's first new business in the industrial services area. Speedy won the business from Hewden Services, which has long been the dominant player in such managed services.

Following the successful renewal of a seven-figure contract at Corus steelworks previously managed by recent acquisition Rentair, the firm believes it can make significant progress in this field, Mr Corcoran said.

'There should be £20-30 million of work a year out there and the industrial area seems to be expanding. The relationships we have formed with the likes of Ainscough and AFI at Portsmouth should be ones we can build on in future and there should be lots of opportunities to work together.'

  • Speedy has also beefed up its acquisition team again, adding three more people. 'There are more opportunities for mergers and acquisitions than ever before,' Mr Corcoran said.
  • by Andrew Gaved