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GAP has accelerated its own capital expenditure this year in response to the improving demand levels (it is set to spend £20m in the year ending March 2011, a rise of £8m on the previous twelve months). Douglas Anderson says he expects a further 10% rise in capex in the year ended March 2012. Most of this expenditure represents fleet replacement not expansion, nevertheless these levels of capital expenditure, which represent a high proportion of GAP’s turnover (£67.7m in the year ended March 2010) indicate the strength of the Group’s commitment to the plant and tool hire market.

Reviewing the prospects for 2011, Douglas Anderson comments that 2011 will be worse than 2010 for the overall economy, but he is confident that the hire market has stabilised and that the outlook for GAP is improving. The company has some initiatives in place, including the expansion of its non-mechanical division with half a dozen new outlets opening at the beginning of the year. GAP continues to be successful in its pursuit of preferred supplier contracts; Douglas Anderson says it has renewed the vast majority of its existing contracts and is finding it is gaining work where users are not happy with other preferred suppliers.

HIREBASE Hire Director

Head Office

Telephone Number Website

Hire activities Geographical coverage Status COMMENT

The end of 2010 found Adrian Watts in confident mood; the year had gone well for Hirebase with the company achieving record sales in every month from March through to November. While the weather in December will inevitably have had a somewhat

negative impact, the hirer had already exceeded its revenue target for 2010 by November, despite the very poor start to the year.

Adrian Watts describes fleet utilisation as “good.” This has been helped by very limited investment over the last 18 months, but the company is


now beginning to increase capital expenditure for both replacement and fleet expansion. The company opened just one new depot in York over the past year, but a further five are scheduled for 2011. Hirebase has changed the structure of its business so that it now operates on a hub and spoke model. To quote Adrian Watts, “Hirebase is all good news”, although he concedes that Government cuts may give rise to problems. He believes that Hirebase has a strong position in the repair and maintenance and refurbishment markets and these will stand it in good stead over the forthcoming year.


Richard Coffey Head Office

Telephone Number Website

Hire activities Geographical coverage Adrian Watts

Gemini One, 5520 Oxford Business South, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LL 01865 871700 Tools and small plant (up to 7.5 tonnes)

From Shetland to Crawley and Norwich to Exeter

Division of Buildbase, a subsidiary of Grafton Group PLC (Irish-registered public company)

Richard Coffey remains confident about his company, which has, like most of its competitors, endured a period of retrenchment after it grew its depot network quickly during boom times. With its cost base significantly restructured, it is now on the expansionary path again with new depots planned to take it into Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh), the north east of England (Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Hull), East Anglia (Ipswich) and the south coast (Southampton and Portsmouth).

Supply UK is finding that the order books of its traditional customers have strengthened and that this has been reflected in an up-lift in the hirer’s turnover in recent months. The company says it is also finding an increasing number of opportunities with blue chip national customers. These factors have led to a planned doubling of capital expenditure in 2011 to both replenish the fleet and expand it in line with the expansion of the depot network.

Supply UK has a number of niche businesses; among them its Water Services Division providing a service of locating, organising and delivering the correct legal standpipe requirements. Richard Coffey is also preparing to add another distinct operation to Supply UK’s portfolio of businesses as the company launches Asset Plus, an asset management software package; he believes that this operation could grow to be larger in turnover terms than Supply UK’s hire business.

• Status COMMENT

Lowry House, Opal Court, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6ZT 0161 224 4600

Tools and equipment, survey and laser, lifting equipment, disaster recovery

Northern England, Midlands, South Wales and South East England (but with depots due to be opened shortly in Scotland, the North East, East Anglia and the South Coast (see Comment) Private company

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