Riwal may quit UK
Dutch international access and telehandler rental company Riwal is seriously considering pulling out of the UK market, 13 years after it set up its first UK subsidiary.
The company says that it is “actively considering a plan to cease operations in the UK at the end of the year". It said: “The plan is based on the long term outlook for the UK rental market and the small market position of Riwal UK, which currently employs 51 staff in the UK.”
Group chief executive Pedro Torres added: “We do not see a viable long term business for our operations, given the fierce market conditions and our limited market share. We have always experienced strong support from our highly qualified staff, however the UK market does not show the same performance and growth that we see in many of our other operations. We will of course be consulting with the employees and their representatives on the plan before any decision is finalised.”
Riwal began operations in the UK in 2009 with Les Warren, Tim White and Dave Freebody running a re-rent business, to build in an existing business providing specialist equipment to the UK market from the Netherlands. See: Riwal confirms UK details
In the last Top 30 UK rental company survey the company was the 19th largest aerial lift rental company in the UK with 1,058 units in its fleet.
This is a little surprising given the size of the UK aerial lift market, however, while rates have improved, they can still be patchy and competition is tough. Brexit may also have been an issue adding obstacles and bureaucracy to the movement of rental equipment back and forth between continental Europe and the UK. It might also be exacerbated by the UK plans to introduce a British safety mark in place of, or in addition to the CE mark, with the additional talk of a divergence to standards and regulations.
The company has not said whether it would prefer selling the UK operation as a going concern or closing, dispersing the UK fleet among its other companies that might need more machines.