Speedy claims worst is over after second loss

Aaron Morby 14 years ago
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National plant and tool hirer Speedy made a loss for the second year running but claimed the market had hit rock bottom.

In another torrid year, losses fell to £23m to March 2010, compared with £71m last time round on sales slumped 27% at £351m.

Steve Corcoran, Speedy chief executive, said the group made £80m in cost savings over the year to put the hirer on a firmer footing.

Staff numbers were chopped by 317, costing Speedy £5.9m in redundancy and back office reorganisation costs.

Speedy closed 37 depots and 14 workshops and reduced its fleet by 322 vehicles.

Corcoran warned that fleet expansion plans remained on hold after last year’s capital spending fell by half.

“Investment in the hire fleet for growth is not planned until we see a more sustainable recovery in UK construction activity, which we forecast will not occur until at least the 2011-12 financial year.”

Speedy is focused on doing more business with the country’s top 50 contractors, which now account for a quarter of total hire revenue.

The firm said it had high hopes of growing its fledgling  Middle East business on the back of its first major deal with Al Futtaim Carillion.

Corcoran said there was light at the end of the tunnel as hire volumes at the end of April had risen to come broadly in line with those of April 2009.

“While we expect to see a further slight reduction in overall construction volumes this year, we expect to see our trading position maintained.”

He added: “As the year progresses and should the economic outlook continue to improve, we expect new opportunities to emerge from outsourcing.”

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