Rental Update: gets a new look; lien law in Mississippi benefits rental equipment and more

Neff reaches Chapter 11 agreement with creditors; United Rentals expands safety training for customers; Finning sells Hewden rental business; RSC launches redesigned website; Maryland heavy equipment rental stores to get property tax relief; United Rentals extends partnership with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” gets a new look
The American Rental Association (ARA) has updated, an extensive rental resource, with a new look, added features and enhanced user experience. Not only does the homepage have a new appearance, but the site explains the many benefits of renting along with how-to tips and best practices. The goal of the revamped site is to make searching for an ARA member rental store a more streamlined and user-friendly process.

Lien law in Mississippi benefits rental equipment
As of July 1, 2010, equipment rental businesses in Mississippi will have another tool to use in collecting money owed to them through state lien laws. On March 17, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed HB 2800 into law amending sections of Mississippi’s code as it relates to lien law. By amending sections 85-7-131, 135, 181, 185 and 189 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, rental and lease equipment and suppliers are now included in statutory lien protections.

Neff reaches Chapter 11 agreement with creditors
Neff Rental, a national, privately owned construction equipment rental company, has announced that the company and certain of its affiliates have commenced a prearranged reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in New York to deleverage the company’s balance sheet and eliminate more than $400 million of debt. The company has filed its prearranged Chapter 11 plan and has obtained full commitments from its existing revolving lenders to provide a $175 million debtor in possession and exit financing, and has secured support from other key stakeholders, including the company’s largest first lien term loan lenders.

In addition, the court granted interim approval for the company’s $175 million debtor-in-possession financing and use of its cash resources. The company said this will allow the company to maintain regular operations and to meet its ongoing financial obligations, including employee wages, health care benefits, supplier payments and other operating expenses.

“The filing of the company’s Chapter 11 Plan culminates the process that the company undertook several months ago to reduce debt and puts the company on sound long-term financial footing,” said Graham Hood, Neff’s CEO. “The restructuring will provide liquidity for ongoing business needs and allow Neff to make significant investments in its rental equipment fleet.”

The company expects to complete its prearranged restructuring in the near term. View a copy of the plan at

United Rentals expands safety training for customers
United Rentals is expanding customer access to safety training in the United States and Canada with:

  • A new online portal with downloadable schedule and e-mail enrollment. Find the Training and Safety site in the “Service Center” on;
  • Expanded availability of OSHA 10-Hour Construction Training, now offered through United Rentals’ certified instructors across the U.S.; and
  • A new Excavator Training and Certification program, including instruction in the safe handling of heavy equipment and productivity techniques, scheduled to launch Sept. 1.

United Rentals offers operator instruction and certification on aerial work platforms, boom lifts, forklifts, loaders and backhoes, skid-steer loaders, vertical reach forklifts and rough terrain forklifts; OSHA 10-hour Construction Training; First Aid/CPR Certification; Confined Space Entry Training; and Competent Person Training.

According to Lee Braden, manager of safety training for United Rentals, more than 6,000 contractors have completed the Confined Space Entry/Competent Person Training provided by the Trench Safety team.

To learn more about on-site or off-site training programs available from United Rentals, visit

Finning sells Hewden rental business
Finning International, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has sold Hewden, its U.K. equipment rental business, for gross proceeds of £110.2 million or about $171 million to an affiliate of Sun European Partners, the European adviser to Sun Capital Partners. Finning will use the proceeds primarily to reduce debt.

“Going forward, Finning’s U.K. dealership will continue to work closely with our plant hire customers to place Caterpillar equipment into the U.K. equipment rental market,” said Andy Fraser, Finning U.K. Group managing director. “Our market approach is to provide total solutions with extraordinary service and Caterpillar world class products. We are confident we can demonstrate the value of Finning to Hewden’s new owners and maintain a productive commercial relationship with Hewden.”

Hewden covers 63 locations in the U.K. and has 1,300 employees. The existing Hewden commercial center in Manchester is proposed to be the new head office for Hewden. Finning has agreed to provide transitional services to Hewden.

Finning U.K. will continue to operate 20 branches in the U.K. with 1,470 employees serving Caterpillar dealership customers throughout the U.K., based from its head office in Cannock, Staffordshire, England.

This deal completes Finning’s sell of Hewden Stuart, which it purchased nearly10 years ago. Finning sold Hewden Tools to Speedy Hire in 2007.

RSC launches redesigned website
RSC Equipment Rental, Scottsdale, AZ, has launched a newly designed company website at that combines a top-to-bottom visual redesign with functional enhancements.

“Our new site was designed with the customer in mind,” said Erik Olsson, RSC’s president and CEO. “Branch location and equipment searches are simplified, making it faster for customers to find what they want. We’ve also increased content emphasizing support for our key industrial service offerings, such as Total Control and Mobile Tool Room Management.”

The redesigned site features streamlined menus, navigation and visual layouts to improve user experience and search engine optimization. The design provides larger screen resolutions, delivering text that is more legible and fewer pages to scroll. Recent improvement to the “Used Equipment, Careers” and “Investor Relations” sections of the site allow visitors to more quickly find targeted information. The company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report also is available online. Regular updates to content, function and appearance also will be added to the new site.

Maryland heavy equipment rental stores to get property tax relief
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in June Senate Bill 685 into law, which will impose a tax rate of 2 percent on the gross receipts from the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment by a person whose principal business is the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment property in Maryland. The rental company subject to the gross receipts tax would be required to collect and remit the tax by the last day of the month after the end of each quarter. In return, specified heavy equipment would no longer be subject to personal property tax.

The law will become effective Dec. 31, 2010, and bring Maryland in line with neighboring states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina, which all have similar tax treatment.

Maryland heavy construction rental fleets have been subject to personal property tax and the payment of sales tax on each rental transaction. These property taxes created considerable uncertainty and hardship for affected rental businesses because the rental fleet continuously changes in size and value, and the company was required to pay the entire tax assessment in a lump sum.

“This is a huge achievement for the ARA of Maryland. It now matches the payment of the tax with the ultimate user of the equipment. The new tax will now be directly tied to the amount of revenue generated, which will benefit both the rental store owners and the counties in the long run,” said Craig Creamer, president of ARA of Maryland. “It will also enable rental store owners to better track and plan for the now quarterly tax payments. This is a good change and one we hope includes all rental stores in the future.”

United Rentals extends partnership with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
United Rentals announced that it has renewed its partnership with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for the 2010-2011 season.

The upcoming season marks the fourth consecutive year that United Rentals has served as the preferred construction equipment supplier for “Extreme Makeover,” which relies on local contractors and community volunteers to build a house in just seven days. United Rentals’ integrated approach to customer service mobilizes the resources of more than 550 branches, a key benefit to “Extreme Makeover” as the show travels across the country.

Michael Kneeland, chief executive officer of United Rentals, said, “We are very pleased to once again support ‘Extreme Makeover’ in raising the profile of volunteerism in America. Our employees take this partnership to heart – they find ways to solve equipment needs at even the most rural sites or when a call comes in at midnight. The race against time is intense, but the quality of service we provide is very similar to the ‘extreme’ commitment we show our customers every day.”