Chicago — NES Rentals Holdings last month completed the sale of its traffic safety and studio equipment rental businesses to private equity investors Aperion Management LLC and Falcon Investment Advisors LLC. The proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt and strengthen NES' position in the aerial equipment rental industry.
“We finished our strategic repositioning with the sale of our manned crane unit out of Boston, the old Shaughnessy unit, our tank business and now our traffic safety and studio businesses,” NES' chairman and CEO Andy Studdert told RER. “Now more than 90 percent of our revenues come from aerial and related markets and we are very pleased to be in that position. Nearly 100 percent of our investment over the past couple of years has been in aerial as well, and we have reduced the age of our fleet significantly.”
The new companies will operate as two separate companies with the same ownership and newly named CEO Michael Catalonello will oversee both companies. Industry veteran Dave Merrick will serve as president of the studio rental company, which will operate out of the Los Angeles area as well as Albuquerque, N.M., and be known as FirstCall Studio Equipment. The traffic safety group — now called RoadSafe Traffic Systems Inc. — will be based in Romeoville, Ill.
Studdert added that NES is running at 80-percent utilization with its aerial fleet.
Falcon already is involved in the film industry, having invested in 2006 in Digital Domain, a digital special effects company.
Former NES managers Bob Tooney, Dave Merrick and Kathy Holst, respected veterans of the traffic safety business, will be playing major roles in the management of the newly acquired divisions.
Studdert told RER that NES is now about a $425 million to $450 million business that is particularly strong along the Gulf Coast, Texas, the upper Midwest and upper eastern seaboard, New England and Ohio. Studdert said the company will continue to look for selective acquisition opportunities and will continue to invest in fleet.
NES Rental Holdings also announced the opening of a branch in Panama City, Fla. The company is opening a branch in the north Florida city in response to significant growth and opportunity in the area because of the construction of a new international airport, ongoing vacation rental construction and additional industries and businesses being built. The branch will also serve Tallahassee, Fla., and Dothan, Ala.
“The Panama City area is an attractive and high-growth region resulting in numerous construction rental opportunities,” said Don Irwin, regional vice president south. “We felt serving this community would fit with our strategic growth goals and the best way to serve was to establish a home base there.”
Frankie Shields was named branch manager and Larry Sager operations manager.
Based in Chicago, NES Rentals is No. 6 on the RER 100.