United Rentals Expands With Acquisition, New Branches

July 1, 2005
GREENWICH, Conn. United Rentals last month continued its expansion by opening several startup locations. United also acquired all remaining HSS RentX

GREENWICH, Conn. — United Rentals last month continued its expansion by opening several startup locations. United also acquired all remaining HSS RentX branches in Colorado. The 14 Colorado branches grossed about $9 million in revenue for the past 12 months.

“With the acquisition of the HSS RentX branch network in Colorado, we have more than doubled our footprint in a vibrant construction market and substantially expanded our service to customers in this state,” said Robert Krause, vice president, northwest region for United Rentals. “Colorado's thriving economy and long-term construction forecast supports strong demand for our equipment rentals, new equipment sales and contractor supplies.”

United Rentals and RentX were the two original “roll-up” type consolidators in the United States rental market, with RentX beginning its acquisition activities in Denver in June 1996, and Greenwich, Conn.-based United Rentals making its first acquisitions in September 1997. RentX peaked at about 75 locations, and went through ownership changes before current owner HSS Hire Service Group Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, bought the company and last year began divesting it, region by region. Almost all of the HSS RentX U.S. branches have now been sold to various buyers, including Sunbelt Rentals, which recently acquired the Florida branches, and now United.

United, on the other hand, is the industry's largest rental company, with about 760 rental locations in 48 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.

Hageman, Stansberry & Associates, Cameron Park, Calif., and Arlington, Texas, assisted HSS RentX in the transaction and has been instrumental in its ongoing and nearly completed North American divestiture.

United Rentals has also opened several new branches across the United States in recent months, most recently its third New York City location, at 2nd Avenue and 111th St.

“This third Manhattan branch provides the opportunity for us to participate in the growing New York City rental market,” said John Humphrey, district manager.

The company also announced the grand opening of a new contractor supplies distribution center in Portland, Ore. The 43,000-square-foot facility is the sixth of nine regional warehouses planned throughout North America. The new distribution center will stock 8,000 contractor supply line items, including saw blades, power tools and safety gear.

The contractor supplies warehouse will accept orders through more than 50 United Rentals branches in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. United has established similar contractor supplies distribution centers in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Texas.

The company also opened three new branches in Texas. The Von Ormy branch is located in a 7,000-square-foot facility that will serve customers throughout Bexar County with equipment rentals, new and used equipment sales, repair and maintenance services, and a comprehensive line of contractor supplies.

“Von Ormy is a thriving city south of San Antonio and home to many of the industries that drive our economy, including agriculture and automobile manufacturing,” said Clarence Jackson, branch manager for United Rentals.

The company opened another all-purpose rental facility in Lufkin, Texas. The Lufkin branch is an 8,000-square-foot facility.

“Lufkin is a thriving industrial hub, and we are pleased to participate in its growth,” said branch manager Greg Toler. “By opening in Lufkin, we have extended our service to customers throughout East Texas to the Louisiana border.”

In addition, the company opened its newest aerial equipment branch in Round Rock, Texas. The new 11,000-square-foot facility will serve customers in the greater Austin metropolitan area.

“The private sector has pledged $1.56 million to promote the city of Round Rock's economic development,” said Rob Slivinsky, branch manager for United Rentals.

United Rentals also opened a trench safety rental branch in Indianapolis.

Lance Palmer, Midwest district manager for United Rentals' trench, pump and power division, said Indianapolis and the surrounding metropolitan area “are experiencing tremendous growth in both residential and non-residential construction.” The branch will specialize in trench shields, shoring systems, slide rail systems and steel crossing plates, as well as a broad range of confined space products and other trench safety equipment.

United Rentals, No. 1 on the RER 100, has said that a total of 30 to 35 branch openings are planned for 2005.