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Canadian rental merger

Canadian rental company G. Cooper Equipment Rentals has reached agreement to acquire 100 percent of the equity in larger Canadian rental company SMS Rents, from Sumitomo. The transaction is expected to close by year end.

Canadian private equity firm, SeaFort Capital, of Halifax, Nova Scotia acquired a majority stake in Toronto based Cooper in 2013. The company was established in 1972 and operates from six full service rental locations in the greater Toronto area, from Burlington to Scarborough, employing around 100. SMS Rents is based in Mississauga, Ontario, it was established in 2003, operates from 15 locations across Ontario and Quebec and employs over 200.
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The two branch networks will continue to operate under their current business names and branding for the immediate future and through a transitional phase in the New Year. The company does not expect the deal to result in any depot closures.

SMS Rents offers a wide range of equipment, with a strong emphasis on aerial lifts and telehandlers, but also runs a few Broderson pick & carry cranes and Unic spider cranes in its fleet. It serves customers in the construction, infrastructure development, demolition, landscaping, industrial maintenance and mining industries.
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Cooper chief executive Darryl Cooper said: "By combining SMS Rents and Cooper, we are creating a strong Canadian business with considerable scale. Each of our 21 full service branches employs a highly skilled and knowledgeable team and offers a specialised fleet comprised of category leading brands.”

Cooper’s president Doug Dougherty, added: "SMS Rents has an excellent reputation for customer service and support. Its employees share our passion for delivering the best possible equipment solutions for customers. I am confident that the combination of the two companies will result in exciting new opportunities for all employees and continued great service for customers, over a much broader network. This will also be our first exposure to Quebec and we are excited about the opportunities in this vibrant marketplace.”

“This is a positive move for both companies, our people, facilities, and rental fleets are highly complementary. We expect the integration of our businesses to result in an excellent stable platform for future growth.”
Marcel Langlois, president of SMS Rents said: "Cooper has a proven reputation in the industry for integrity and fresh thinking. The SMS Rents ‘Job Ready’ approach blends well with Cooper’s established culture. Sumitomo has enjoyed its time as it built SMS Rents, and was fortunate to come together with a strong Canadian organisation at Cooper that recognises the value of our enterprise. Now, with our combined resources, the Cooper/SMS Rents network is uniquely positioned to deliver smart equipment solutions to customers throughout Ontario and Quebec.”

Vertikal Comment

This move by Sumitomo is a little unexpected, the company increased its stake in Sunstate Equipment as recently as 2013, when it still seemed keen to expand its rental operations in North America See Sumitomo ups its stake in Sunstate

It may just be that it wants to pull back from the more general rental business in Canada, in order to focus on heavier construction and mining equipment rental?

Seafort Capital acquired crane rental company AW Leil in 2012, which it then used to take over Nova Scotia based Partners Cranes a year later. Less than a year after buying Cooper it used it to add CityRentals in Toronto, but acquistion of SMS is a far more significant deal.

The company clearly likes the equipment rental industry.


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