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New Boss at Hirepool

New Boss at Hirepool as Tenby Powell Looks at Bigger Opportunities for the Group

Auckland, Wednesday 23 July, 2008 – Five years after acquiring Hirepool and growing it into New Zealand’s rental equipment leader, Tenby Powell has decided it is time to let go.

Powell is stepping aside after what he describes as “five of the most exciting and rewarding years anyone could have wished for in business, and we haven’t finished yet. So this is the ideal time to let a new man drive Hirepool into the future and at the same time enable me to explore new opportunities and challenges for the Group, both here and in Australia.”

So as one Powell exits, a new one enters with Mark Powell now the new General Manager Hirepool Limited. “Our surname is one of many things we have in common,” says Mark, former Commercial Manager at Hirepool with almost 20 years industry experience. “We share similar goals for the business around operational excellence and high levels of customer responsivity. My focus will be on taking this to even greater levels.”

Another change is a new name for the combined business with the holding company, Rakino Group, now changed to The New Zealand Rental Group, with Tenby Powell remaining as Group Chief Executive.

“This better reflects our core business activities which now span a group of 84 general and specialist rental business units, with 28 in the South Island,” he says. “The nationwide group now comprises cornerstone business Hirepool, together with Port-A-Loo, Henderson Rentals, Barricading Solutions and Castles Marquee Hire.

That is a far cry from the Hirepool business Powell and Rakino Group took over back in July 2003, which then numbered 14 general hire branches with just one in the South Island. At that time he set a goal of establishing Hirepool as New Zealand’s equipment rental leader with a nationwide footprint. That was achieved within two years through a combination of acquisitions, greenfield branch developments and establishing alliance partnerships.

Once the national branch network had been established the next step was to develop the vertical markets with a range of specialist divisions. Hence the push into Port-A-Loo, Henderson Rentals, Castle Marquees, Hirepool Energy and Barricading Solutions.

During this period revenue increased by more than 300% and staff numbers increased by 250% to nearly 500. Then in July 2006 Hirepool was sold to Next Capital, one of Australia’s leading private equity firms with Hunter Powell Investments retaining a 20% stake in the business. Under the new stewardship, growth strategy continued to reach its current dominant position.

As part of the Hirepool restructure, five new Regional Managers, each reporting to Mark Powell, have been appointed. They are responsible for the performance of all branches and business units in their territory.

Hirepool canvassed a wide range of external candidates, but it is a reflection of the positive executive and leadership development programmes at Hirepool, that all five are internal appointments. They are Mark Gregory (Auckland North), Dave Constable (Central North Island), Paul Raymer (Wellington, Manawatu & Hawkes Bay), Ross Dale (Upper South Island) and Steve Chave (Lower South Island).

According to Mark, “our goal firmly remains to be recognised as New Zealand’s rental industry leader and we particularly look forward to the continuation of the strong relationship we have developed as Principal Partner of the NZ Contractors’ Federation, with NZCF members throughout the country.”

As for the New Zealand Rental Group, Tenby Powell is looking to Australia with a view to establishing a strong trans-Tasman entity. To that end, through Hunter Powell Investments Ltd, he has invested in On Site Rental Group (a specialist access and portable building rental company with branches throughout Australia), taking a position on the board.

“I think there is a big opportunity to take the relationship we currently have with On Site Rental Group to another level,” he says. “I see that as our future given the greater economies of scale in Australia with a population upwards of 20 million. Establishing a trans-Tasman business is a very exciting prospect with obvious benefits for customers and staff.”

Some time in the future he may also look at the prospect of a listing on the ASX.


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