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Elevation files for voluntary liquidation

Elevation Equipment Company, until last year one of Ireland's largest aerial work platform rental companies, has filed for voluntary liquidation six months after running into terminal difficulties.

Earlier this year, the company’s bankers withdrew their support, while several finance companies and manufacturers decided to call time on the outstanding equipment leases and repossess the equipment.

Hundreds of machines were taken back by manufacturers and finance companies alike, many of which were auctioned off. The net result of the loss of the majority of its rental fleet, along with the absence of bank support, made it impossible for the company to continue to trade. Staff were subsequently laid off and rental activity ceased.

Unusually in such circumstances, however, a winding up order was not filed, nor was the company forced to seek protection in administration.

With some minor administrative activities continuing, the remaining management has now filed for voluntary liquidation. The creditors meeting is scheduled for 9 January, 2004.
It is understood that most, if not all of the banks loans have been repaid through subsequent cash collections and that there will be surplus funds available for at lease a minimal distribution to creditors.

Elevation was founded in Belfast almost 25 years ago by Robin Ardil, originally with alloy scaffold towers and then powered access.

The company was for many years one of the strongest Simon customers in the UK. In 1989 it moved to southern Ireland and opened up in the Dublin area, much to the chagrin to several exhisting strong local companies.

The new operation was headed up by Ciarran Gilespie on his return from Canada where he had first entered the aerial business.

The business grew steadily over subsequent years, but was continually cited as a price cutter in the region. Funding was frequently an issue as the company was always relatively highly leveraged.

In the latter half of the 90’s, the company aggressively chased the big fast-track commercial construction projects that were sprouting up in the south, such as the Intel plants and extensions, often buying electric scissor lifts by the hundred in advance of a tender award.

The demise of Elevation has already given the Irish platform rental industry a boost; the remaining companies have seen utilisation improvements and firming rental rates. This comes as no surprise, given the departure of several hundred units from the Irish market.

Elevation had a wide range of access equipment in its fleet, from mast climbers to crawler mounted booms and scissors to suspended cradles and alloy towers. It also added telescopic handlers in recent years.


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