The two companies are being relaunched under the new brand Ardent Hire Solutions, which has £160m to spend on fleet investment over the next three years
Ardent Hire Solutions has a fleet of around 5,000 machines, of which 2,510 are telehandlers ranging in boom length from 4m to 32m (Fork Rent was at one time JCB’s biggest customer in Western Europe). The core fleet also includes 760 excavators from 0.9 tonnes to 35 tonnes, as well as 440 rollers and compactors and 560 site dumpers from 1 tonne to 10 tonnes.
Ardent has consolidated the two companies into 12 depots, with another three to be opened this year. The operations HQ will be based in the former Fork Rent premises in Ipswich while the management HQ will be based in One Call’s location in Enfield.
There are also plans to move into operated plans, directly employing a pool of highly-trained operators. Ardent will also employ its own delivery drivers, rather than entrusting its service and equipment to third parties by outsourcing logistics.
Fork Rent and One Call Hire were both privately owned prior to their acquisition in August 2015. Ipswich-based Fork Rent was owned by the Nicholls family while Enfield-based One Call Hire was owned by the Fitzpatrick family. The purchase price has yet to be disclosed.
The deal was structured as a ‘buy-in management buyout’ or BIMBO. Under this arrangement, Corcoran and Nick Pulford, the group’s new finance director, bought in to the new business and the new company’s operations director Elaine Miller and sales director Simon Atherton (both formerly with Fork Rent) and commercial director Tom Gleeson (ex- One Call) bought out from their respective businesses.
The BIMBO team was funded by venture capitalists Duke Street and Searchlight Capital Partners who, on top of the acquisition cost, have underwritten an investment of £160m over the next three years.
The Construction Index magazine has an exclusive interview with Steve Corcoran in our forthcoming February 2016 issue.