Morris Leslie Plant Hire, based in Errol, invested more than £59 million on new equipment last year as it grew the size of its fleet by 700 vehicles. The Perthshire firm is one of the largest plant hire operations in the UK and plans to invest at a similar level this year.
The Morris Leslie group’s interests include the hire, auction and sale of construction machinery, motor vehicle auctions, the provision of storage facilities and the sale of portable and modular buildings. Accounts for the year ending April 30 show the group’s sales increased from £52.5 million in 2017 to £87.6m last year. Pre-tax profits dipped slightly from £3.1m to £3m.
Group operations director Graham Ogilvie said the group’s top line would increase further this year due to its purchase of Surrey-based Chertsey Plant Hire in May. “The plant hire business is continuing to expand throughout the UK,” he said. “We’ve got 15 locations across the UK where we hire out large construction equipment. “It’s a competitive but growing market.
“One of the points that differentiates us from our competitors is that we have the youngest plant hire fleet in the UK. “We continually reinvest in the assets so that our customers we hire to get modern equipment. “This also supports our sales business, allowing us to sell nearly new equipment to the wider market. “We buy it, hire it for two years, then sell it.”
At the end of the financial, the plant hire business had 3,600 pieces of equipment. Mr Ogilvie said the acquisition of Chertsey had added a further 500 assets. Subsequent investment in new stock had brought the current fleet number to more than 4,500.
Reflecting on the health of construction industry, Mr Ogilvie said Brexit was holding back some construction projects, but housebuilding remained strong. Meanwhile the firm is continuing to look for opportunities to further expand the footprint of its plant hire business. “We service the whole of the UK but there are areas in which we are looking to expand to provide a local service,” he said. “We are looking for depots in certain areas and look at opportunities when businesses become available. “We’ve got our eyes out all the time as we continue to expand.”