IRN100: the largest equipment rental companies in the world

By Murray Pollok28 May 2021

Total revenues at the world’s largest 100 rental companies fell by -6.4% in 2020 reflecting the disruption caused by the health crisis.

The fall – after adjusting for currency changes - was closer to -9% for the top five companies, all but one of which are based in North America or Europe, which were the worst affected regions.

The figures are revealed in the latest IRN100 survey of the world’s largest equipment rental companies, published by International Rental News. The full list of the largest 100 companies will be in the June issue of the magazine, which will be published soon.

The reduction in revenues would have been larger but for a much more positive result from Japanese rental companies, with revenues from the top five players flat or even slightly up between 2019 and 2020.

Despite the challenges there was still room for growth, especially in China, with Horizon, Pangyuan and new entrant Zhejiang Huatie all in the top 60. In Europe, Sunbelt Rentals UK, Zeppelin Rentals and Renta Group were among the few reporting higher revenues in 2020.

The top 10 companies are the same as last year. The only change being a switch in the ninth and tenth places between Modulaire and Nishio Rent All, now at nine and 10 respectively.

1. United Rentals
Impacted by the pandemic, but had resumed expansion in 2021 with acquisition of General Finance Corp, the owner of accommodation and storage rental businesses in North America, Australia and New Zealand. United is now active in North America, Europe and Austalasia.

2. Ashtead Group
Owner of Sunbelt Rentals business in North America and UK. Rebranded its UK business from A-Plant to Sunbelt Rentals during the year. In the US, the company continues to expand its depot network in major urban areas, and in the UK it’s business won large rental contracts in support of national pandemic health measures.

3. Aktio Corp
Japenese rental companies were less impacted by the pandemic in 2020 that their counterparts in Europe and North America. Aktio is one of the ‘big four’ general rental companies in Japan, who together represent around 50% of the total market.

4. Loxam
Its acquisition of Ramirent in 2019 boosted its precemnce in the Nordic region and central Europe. Its major market remains France, which was one of the worst impact rental markets through the pandemic. Loxam also operates in the Middle East, mainly in the aerial platform rental sector.

5. Aggreko
Global power rental company has seen its events business impacted by the pandemic. The UK-based business is investing in clean technologies, including solar power. It is the major power supplier to the Tokyo Olympics this year.

6. Herc Rentals
Business has receoverd quickly in early 2021 after the worst of the pandemic in the US. The largest generalist equipment rental company in the US after United Rentals and Sunbelt Rentals (Ashtead Group).

7. Kanamoto
Major Japanese equipment rental company that is now expanding its operations into multiple Asian countries, including China, where it is rental large equipment to mining companies.

8. Boels Verhuur
Boels’ acquisition of Nordic renter Cramo in January 2020 has made it the second largest rental company in Europe, after Loxam. In addition to its generalist rental depots it also operates many hundreds of ‘in-store’ rental locations at builders merchants in mainland Europe.

9. Modulaire
Formerly Algeco Group, Modulaire wons multiple portable accommodation and storage space rental business in Europe and Asia. Still operates under brands including Algeco, Elliott and BUKO. In February 2021 it announced it was undergoing a strategic review, which included the option of taking the compoany public with an IPO.

10. Nishio Rent All
Like the other major Japanese rental companies, Nishio is expanding in South East Asian rental markets. Has been pioneering efforts to develop remotely controlled earthmoving equipment.

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