Changing tide

By Lindsey Anderson20 October 2015

It’s been one year since our last Aerials20 toplist and the market shows signs of steadiness. The top 20 rental companies in North America showed an overall gain of 2.32 percent with a total of 294,753 aerials compared to last year’s 288,071, however, numbers across the board are varied with some large rental companies reducing fleets while mid-sized and independents experience growth.

Once again, at the top of the Aerials20 is United Rentals. The company decreased its fleet by -4.79 percent from last year’s 108,700 aerials to 103,490 this year. Despite this leveling out for the world’s largest rental company, rental revenues for United Rentals hit $1.22 billion in the second quarter of 2015, a year on year increase of 3.5 percent. United revised its forecast for the full year, saying utilization is expected to hover around 67 percent as opposed to their original quote of 69 percent.

Michael Kneeland, chief executive officer of United, says, ““The adverse impacts from the drop in oil and gas activity as well as industry fleeting were greater than we anticipated and, as a result, we've updated our outlook on our 2015 targets.

“Demand for our equipment is clearly there, and our industry is expected to benefit from solid growth in the years ahead as oil drilling stabilizes and rental fleet is absorbed. Industry experts are projecting years of growth ahead, led by the ongoing rebound in non-residential construction.”

Of the top five rental companies, United wasn’t the only firm to decrease its fleet. Ahern Rentals also downsized its aerial fleet by -7.77 percent from last year’s 20,405 units to this year’s 18,819. That said, a bright spot shines in the top five with Sunstate Equipment jumping two spots from seventh to fifth. The ever-growing company bumped up its aerials fleet by 15.17 percent from 2014’s 14,500 units to this year’s 16,700 units. Sunstate has experienced growth each year since the inception of the Aerials20 toplist. When the list was started in 2008, Sunstate had 5,700 aerials, which it has grown every year (6,700 in 2009; 7,100 in 2010; 7,300 in 2011; 9,500 in 2012; and 13,000 in 2013).

For the entire table and story, please see the October 2015 issue of Access, Lift & Handlers.

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