Sunbelt Parent to Raise Funds in Bond Offering

May 1, 2004
Ashtead plc, the British parent company of Charlotte, N.C.-based Sunbelt Rentals plans to raise 130 million pounds, about $236 million U.S.

DATELINE? Ashtead plc, the British parent company of Charlotte, N.C.-based Sunbelt Rentals plans to raise 130 million pounds, about $236 million U.S. dollars, by selling bonds after recent losses widened. The company stock fell 12 percent amid reports that it fired its auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers after the firm refused to reconfirm the accounts for the past three years.

Ashtead lenders have conditionally agreed to extend maturity on existing debt. The company expects to complete the bond issue by the end of this month. The company pretax loss for the nine months through January widened to 20.8 million pounds, about $38 million.

About 70 percent of Ashtead sales come from Sunbelt Rentals. The current weak dollar has hurt revenue when translated into U.K. currency. However, prospects for Sunbelt are brightening with an improving U.S. economy.

Sunbelt Rentals is No. 4 on the new RER 100 with 199 branches in the United States.

United Rentals Appoints Clark, McAuley to Board of Directors

GREENWICH, Conn. — United Rentals announced that Howard Clark Jr. and Brian McAuley joined the company's board of directors, effective immediately.

“It is a privilege to welcome these distinguished individuals to our board,” said Bradley Jacobs, chairman of United Rentals. “We look forward to benefiting from their diverse talents and wealth of experience.”

Clark has been vice chairman of Lehman Brothers since 1993. He has also held positions with Shearson Lehman Brothers Holdings, American Express Co. and Blyth Eastman Paine Webber. He is also a director of Maytag Corp., White Mountains Insurance Group and Walter Industries.

McAuley has been a partner at NH II, llc, a consulting firm that specializes in telecommunications businesses, since 2003. McAuley is a co-founder of Nextel Communications. He has also held positions at Imagine Tile, where he continues to serve as chairman; NeoWorld Communications; Norton Simon; and Deloitte & Touche.

United Rentals is No. 1 on the new RER 100.

Sunstate Sells 25 Properties

PHOENIX — Sunstate Equipment sold 25 of its properties to Sovereign Investment Co., Princeton, N.J., for $36.4 million. The Phoenix-based rental company will lease back the properties located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

Sunstate executive vice president Beno Jurgemeyer described the transaction as a ormal course refinancing of real estate properties.

We have always maintained our real estate off balance sheet as much as possible, Jurgemeyer told RER. We are trying to be focused on the rental business, not the real estate business. This was part of the overall refinancing we needed to do as part of the buyout of Deere and we wouldn t expect to see anything else in the future along those lines.

Sunstate, No.? on the new RER 100, has 46 branches, primarily in the Southwest.

Ritchie Ends First Quarter With Strong Auction Sales

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Ritchie Brothers ended the first quarter with large auctions in Chicago and Olympia, Wash., with both auctions setting attendance records for their respective regions. More than 3,400 customers attended the Chicago auction, purchasing more than $38 million worth of equipment. More than 3,300 attended the Olympia event, resulting in more than $23 million in gross auction sales.

The company also recently held its largest-ever Georgia sale April 8 and 9, with gross auction sales topping $22 million. Internet bidders purchased more than $3 million worth of equipment.

Multiquip Names Indian Distributor

CARSON, Calif. — Multiquip Inc. recently named its newest distributor to serve India, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives.

Multiquip Construction Equipment Pvt. Ltd., located in Mumbai, India, entered an exclusive long-term agreement with Multiquip to carry many of the Multiquip products available throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Construction industry veteran Naridner Jit Singh is operating the new distributorship.

“India is experiencing tremendous growth and has many infrastructure projects currently underway,” said Multiquip president Roger Euliss. “The market is opening more each day, and contractors are demanding quality equipment for their work. Our partnership with Mr. Singh will ensure that we provide both the quality equipment and excellent service that we expect worldwide to support our equipment.”

Multiquip Construction Equipment Pvt. Ltd. carries Multiquip brand equipment including Mikasa compaction products, including rammers, plate compactors and rollers, dewatering pumps, concrete and masonry cutting products, Stow Construction Equipment's complete line of concrete and masonry cutting, placing and finishing products, floor preparation equipment and dewatering pumps, and Sanders Saws concrete cutting products.

Singh, who also owns a contracting and real estate development business in Mumbai, has been an integral part of the construction industry for more than 30 years and has completed projects across the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

Multiquip's expansion into the Indian subcontinent is part of the company's continued global growth. Since the early 1990s, Multiquip has expanded into Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America and China, and now sells product in more than 50 countries. Offices are located in Manchester, U.K.; Quebec, Canada; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mule Shoe Rental Opens in Rural Idaho

BUHL, Idaho — John Stiegemeier opened Mule Shoe Rental in Buhl, Idaho, early last month. Although the small town of Buhl has only about 4,000 inhabitants and is about 100 miles from the state capital in Boise, Stiegemeyer told RER there is enough building going on in the area to support a rental center with a general rental inventory and that his business is growing daily.

Stiegemeyer, who is new to the rental business, also operates a farm, but has cut back on farming activities to operate his rental center.

Held over from April, page 18

More Lift Buyers Purchase From Rental Companies

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Associated Equipment Distributors' Construction Equipment Marketplace Report recently reported that only 57.7 percent of equipment buyers purchase new lifting equipment (aerial-work platforms, forklifts, hydraulic cranes and lattice-boom cranes) from an authorized dealer.

Scissorlifts are the least likely to be purchased from an authorized dealer. Only 12.5 percent of contractors who purchased a scissorlift bought it from an authorized dealer, according to the report. Only 18.8 percent of buyers purchased boom lift aerial-work platforms from authorized dealers.

According to the report, nearly 33 percent of respondents who purchased lifting equipment bought it from rental companies and 22.5 percent purchased them at auction.

More than 56 percent of boom-lift aerial-work platform buyers bought them from a rental company and 12.5 percent bought them at auction.

More than half of the forklift buyers (55.6 percent) bought them from an authorized dealer; 14.8 percent purchased them from rental companies and 11.1 percent at auction.


President Bush Visits Rain for Rent

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — President George W. Bush visited the Bakersfield, Calif. headquarters of Rain for Rent on March 4th, for his second in a series of economic forums to discuss the positive impact of his tax policy for small businesses and tax-paying employees.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the White House contacted Rain for Rent to discuss the President's interest in interviewing small business owners and their families to find out personally how they were affected by the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Both temporary tax-cut programs are slated to be eliminated in 2005 if Congress does not act to extend the law.

To prepare for the President's visit, Rain for Rent surrounded the stage with Rain for Rent tanks, pumps and filtration equipment from the rental fleet.

President Bush interviewed Rain for Rent employees and small business owners from the community. Ismael Diaz and Theresa Avila, Rain for Rent employees, and Les Den Herder, CEO of Victory Circle Chassis and Parts, Chris DiSalvo of GMC Roofing, and John Lake, president of Rain for Rent, discussed small business tax policy and shared with the President how the tax credits affected their families and businesses.

During the visit, Lake advised the president that accelerated tax depreciation had allowed Rain for Rent to purchase additional capital assets, infusing not only local economy, but also the economies of those states that manufacture Rain for Rent's United States-made products. Lake said with the assistance of the president's tax-cut policies, the company has purchased more than $50 million in capital assets and increased employment by 24 percent throughout its 50 U.S. locations.

Rain for Rent specializes in liquid handling, renting tanks, water filters, pumps, dewatering equipment, pipeline and irrigation systems.