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New bosses look to return balance to Independent

PLANT

THE MANAGEMENT team now running Independent Access Supplies is to raise hire rates and maintain a balanced fleet of old and new machines in order to avoid the problems that left the firm in administration six months ago.

The £11.6 million buy-in, backed by HBOS, has saved 75 jobs at the Birmingham hirer. It will now operate a fleet of 1,300 machines, reduced from 1,900, and is being hailed as one of the first examples of a company rescued under the terms of the Enterprise Act.

The Act was passed this year in a bid to slow the number of firms going out of business.

The operating management of the buyin team comprises two poachers-turnedgamekeepers in the form of former directors from platform manufacturer JLG, Stuart Honeywood and Andrew Fishburn, together with the majority funding partners Jeremy Cross and Alex May, who come from entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Mr Fishburn, who will be sales and marketing director, said: 'It was our chance to put into practice what we preach and to do something positive for the industry.

'I know how to get people working and Stuart, who will be the operations director, certainly knows how to get machines working.'

The MBI, which came into formation when several other bids fell through, will operate Independent out of seven depots initially.

Following the return of a large amount of Genie machinery, the business will operate with 1,300 platforms which are predominantly JLG.

Mr Fishburn said the team will immediately invest £500,000 in refurbishing the existing fleet and adding accessories, with first-year turnover forecast at £8.5 million 'The problem with the previous operation was that they had too much new equipment and the rates were too low.We will look for a well-balanced fleet of old and new.

'It is all credit to administrator KPMG for keeping the company going and to the loyalty of the customers and staff.'