Acme Lift and Hitachi Construction Machinery - which holds a 33.3 percent stake in the company have agreed to expand their joint earthmoving rental fleet on a national basis, and at the same time agreed the sale of the Acme aerial lift, telehandler, and air compressor fleet to United Rentals.
United Rentals put in a bid to acquire the entire fleet which Acme has accepted. Acme and Hitachi will work together now to expand the earthmoving fleet as fast as possible to compensate for the loss of the aerial lift and telehandler business.
Starting this week, lifts and compressors coming back from customers will be transferred to United, with the end of September chosen as the date when any machines that have not been off-hired will be transferred to United regardless. The Acme fleet has a total replacement value in the region of $450 million, although this also includes around 300 Hitachi excavators.
The following video interview with Acme chief executive Woody Weld was released last month and features him talking about the company with a clear focus on Hitachi equipment:
This is an interesting move on the part of both Acme and Hitachi, the news of the deal has so far filtered out through informal channels, with no official announcements from any of those involved.
The exit from aerial lifts is a surprise given that Acme is first and foremost a specialist aerial lift/telehandler and compressor rental company. For United this is a good deal in that it gains a relatively young fleet almost overnight - one assumes at an attractive price - while in a way removing a competitive element from the market.
Perhaps this move comes in advance of Hitachi raising its stake in Acme and if so, its possible we may see the name changed to Hitachi Rental. After all Acme Lift no longer sounds relevant.