SPEEDY Hire has made a brace of deals that propel it to the top of the steel site cabin sector and consolidate its leadership of survey equipment hire.
The purchases of the survey assets and cabin f leets of Mowlem for £5.1 million and the hire division of modular builder Caledonian Building for £13.7 million adds 5,700 cabins to the Speedy Hire offering.
The Mowlem contract is based on Speedy hiring the cabins back to the contractor as sole supplier for five years and the survey kit for three years.
The deal means that, in return for an asset purchase of £5.1 million, Speedy has effectively acquired hire deals worth in the region of £10 million.
Speedy's national f leet of 24,500 accommodation units should dispel any lingering perception in the City that the firm is merely a hirer of drills and concrete mixers.
Speedy chief executive Steve Corcoran said: 'This makes us a clear number one as a provider of steel site cabins, which we believe are the ideal for construction sites. We do not have much of a holding of timber units, which is where the other big fleetholder, Elliotthire, chiefly operates.' The deal will be followed by a period of consolidation in Speedy Hire's Space and Survey divisions, although this would not bring an end to acquisitions.
The purchase of the cabin holdings has been prompted by contractors' increased willingness to outsource. Many firms are now farming out physically large capital items due to a number of cost considerations.
Mr Corcoran said: 'We have now bought the cabin fleets of Birse, Gleeson and Mowlem. While other contractors are opting to retain their fleets, these three have decided that there are advantages to outsourcing.
'They don't want capital tied up in assets, they don't want the transport costs of moving the units and they don't want the land costs of storing them.
'Also they don't want the maintenance requirements and they don't want to carry the health and safety and environmental burden.'
Mr Corcoran also predicted that the forthcoming regulations for controlling silica dust, currently in consultation stage, will prove to be a huge boon for the hire sector.
As the main provider of extractors, and dust suppression equipment to construction, hirers have to supply the necessary plant.
Mr Corcoran said: 'Currently less than 1 per cent of all our equipment is requested with dust extraction. It could prove to be very lucrative.' Dust extraction is one of the hot topics at the Plant 2006 conference on March 2.
For further details, visit: www.Plant2006. co. uk.