Speedy Hire to Ramp Up U.K. Consolidation

BOLTON, England — The tool-rental consolidation race in the United Kingdom is accelerating as Allen Plc, parent company of Speedy Hire, the U.K.'s second largest tool-rental chain, said it will invest the proceeds of its planned sale of Ryan — its utility services division — to grow its equipment rental division through acquisitions. Finance director Neil O'Brien said he expects the proceeds from the sale of Ryan to be about $14 million.

Allen sold its building-contracting and property-development units in March to Montpelier Group Plc for $1.4 million.

Vancouver, Canada-based Finning, the Caterpillar dealer for the United Kingdom, recently became a major player in the U.K. small-equipment and tool market with its acquisition of Hewden Stuart Plc and its 370 locations.

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