Louisiana Machinery Adds Cat Rental Stores

RESERVE, La.- With rental industry veteran Donald Charbonet at the helm as director of operations, Louisiana has become the 40th state to join the Cat Rental Store program. Louisiana Machinery, the Caterpillar dealer for the state, recently launched its rental division with the opening of three locations.

Doing business as Louisiana Rents, the company, based here, opened in Lafayette, where it will focus on the construction and oil field markets. In Morgan City, oil field rentals will be the focus; and the Gonzales location will concentrate on petrochemical companies. Charbonet told RER he sees potential to expand to about a dozen Louisiana cities.

Louisiana Rents offers a diverse mix including air compressors, high-reach equipment, welders, light towers, concrete equipment, pumps, forklifts, trenchers, and accessories such as blades, shovels, oil points and chisels, traffic safety equipment, and point-of-sale items such as glasses, hard hats, gloves and harnesses. It will offer a full line of Caterpillar equipment including its new compact wheel loaders, skid-steer loaders and mini-excavators.

Charbonet, who grew up working in the rental business owned by his father, has since held executive positions for Buckner Rental Service, Neff Rentals and NationsRent. Other key staff include Billy Boyles, general sales manager; Lee Price, general service manager; Mike Lambert, Lafayette branch manager; Chris Broussard, Gonzales branch manager; and Mark Zerangue, Morgan City branch manager.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - A.H. Harris & Sons, a Connecticut-based concrete supplies distributor, has partnered with American Capital to help finance future acquisitions and enter new markets.

American Capital will invest $10 million in the form of senior subordinated debt in Harris, which is the largest distributor of concrete-related construction products in New England and also rents concrete forms.

Harris, based here, has grown from seven to 17 locations since 1993, including recent acquisitions in New Jersey and Virginia. The company primarily targets highway and commercial/industrial contractors.

By 2003 business-to-business e-commerce is expected to reach $1.3 trillion in annual revenue -- more than 10 times the projected size of the business-to-customer market.

- New York Times

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