European Rental Award winners announced in Prague

By Murray Pollok26 May 2010

Rental award winners celebrate in Prague, from left; Franco de Michelis (Assodimi), Paul Hay (TowerL

Rental award winners celebrate in Prague, from left; Franco de Michelis (Assodimi), Paul Hay (TowerLight), Magnus Rosen (Ramirent), Phil Wolff (HSS) and Peter Garritsen (Bredenoord).

Netherlands power renter Bredenoord won the small rental company of the year award and Ramirent the large company award at the 2010 European Rental Awards, announced at a special dinner in Prague on 26 May during the European Rental Association's annual convention.

Chris Davies, chief executive of HSS in the UK, was named ERA/IRN Rental Person of the Year and Franco de Michelis, secretary general of Italian rental association Assodimi, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

TowerLight/DF Ecology's new dust control unit, the Dust-fighter 7500MB, was named Rental Product of the Year.

Accepting the large rental company award, Magnus Rosen, Ramirent's chief executive officer, paid tribute to the company's management team "who turned a growth oriented company into a cash generating machine."

The awards, attended by over 250 rental professionals and organised by International Rental News (IRN) and the ERA, also saw Czech Republic tower crane rental company, JVS Crane Rental, given a ‘Highly Commended' citation in the small rental company of the year category.

The judges praised Bredenoord - winner in the small company category (under 10 depots) - as being a "top quality and innovative company, very well run and very well respected".

Ramirent, which won the large rental company award, was described as a company with "top class management in very difficult markets, and they remained profitable."

TowerLight was recognised for what the judges called a "fantastic niche product, and an environmentally important one. Towerlight is always looking for ways to develop the rental market with new and profitable rental products."

The citation for Chris Davies, Rental Person of the Year, recognised his contribution in making HSS "one of the most modern and innovative companies in the industry" and one that is "at the forefront of using the internet to market its services".

The award for Franco de Michelis, who has been involved in developing the Italian rental market for over 20 years, was described as "fully deserved...Over the past 15 years he has trained over 1000 people in rental and has supported the development of many rental companies in Italy. It is the perfect time to acknowledge publicly the enormous contribution that he has made over his career."

Speaking at the awards dinner, Gérard Déprez, president of the European Rental Association and chief executive officer of Loxam, paid tribute to the winners and shortlisted companies and said; "There is a great commitment in our industry to offering our customers a better and better service. We are all striving to innovate and to improve efficiency, safety and professionalism.

"This dinner tonight gives us a chance to celebrate that work, to show the world what we are doing - and also to meet our friends and colleagues from all over Europe, to make new contacts and to learn from each others' experiences."

The winners and shortlisted companies in each category were as follows:

Rental Company of the Year (10 depots or more)
GAP Group
Ramirent (WINNER)

Rental Company of the Year (under 10 depots)
Atut Rental
Bredenoord (WINNER)

Rental Product of the Year
JLG Industries
TowerLight/DF Ecology (WINNER)

Rental Person of the Year
Chris Davies, Chief Executive, HSS

Lifetime Achievement Award
Franco de Michelis, Assodimi

The judges for the awards were:

Gérard Déprez, ERA President and chief executive officer of Loxam
Pierre Boels, Managing Director of Boels Verhuur
Dirk Stukkens, Global Account Manager, Komatsu
Michel Petitjean, ERA Secretary General
Murray Pollok, Editor, International Rental News

More details of the winners and runners up will appear in the May-June issue of IRN and also on IRN's website,

The full citations for the winning entries were as follows:

Ramirent (Rental Company of the Year - 10 Depots or More)
For Ramirent, 2009 was about taking the actions needed to prepare it for a return to growth. Tight cost controls and low capital expenditure secured a strong cash flow and a positive operating result despite the difficult conditions.

Fixed costs were cut by €75 million and the company says this sound financial management means that its employees entered 2010 working for a financially sound company capable of exploiting the opportunities during the recession.

The company continued expanding quality standards throughout the organisation. Its operations in St Petersburg are now ISO 9001 certified and it established a common Code of Ethics during the year.

If financial management was paramount in 2009, the company still found time to develop a new branding strategy, focused around the Ramirent name and with the new brand promise, ‘Let's solve it'.

Bredenoord (Rental Company of the Year - Under 10 Depots)
Bredenoord, a family-owned power rental company based in the Netherlands, has long been known for its engineering skill. In 2009, it took this expertise to new levels, with the launch of one of the world's first ‘clean' portable generators incorporating fuel cell technology.

This was a significant technical achievement on its own right, but in addition, the company has developed a self cleaning soot filter - Clean Air - that reduces the soot emissions from its diesel gensets by over 99%. Now it is investigating the potential for conventional gensets fuelled by synthetic diesel.

At the same time, the company has continued to invest in its core rental business. The company has operations in the Netherlands and Germany and in 2009 established itself in Denmark.

TowerLight/DF Ecology (Rental Product of the Year)
DF Ecology's Dust-fighter range addresses the problems of dust exposure on building and construction sites with its new range of water spraying dust control products.

The Dust-fighter propels a fine mist of water through a series of high-pressure jets and a powerful fan. It covers a wider area than conventional hose pipe systems, uses significantly less water, and spreads the water more evenly, minimising the formation of muddy surfaces.

Using Towerlight's knowledge of the rental market, DF Ecology has made the Dust-fighter 7500MB a rental-friendly product: it is entirely self-contained, uses a super-silenced generator for power, and incorporates a 2000 litre stainless steel water tank sufficient for a complete day's use. It weighs 1850 kg and can be fitted onto a rugged road trailer certified for use in EC countries and elsewhere.

Chris Davies, HSS (Rental Person of the Year)
Chris Davies has led companies in sectors including building materials, office equipment and leisure retailing

He joined HSS in 2006, re-engineering it into a business focused on serving professional customers in addition to the homeowner/DIY market where it was traditionally strong.

Today, the company is at the forefront of using the internet to market its services and widely renowned as one of the most modern and innovative companies in the industry.

Franco de Michelis (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Franco de Michelis fully deserves the accolade, having for the past two decades been tireless in his promotion of the rental business in his home country and wider afield.

He started his career selling construction equipment in Europe, and was a founder of Italy's Assodimi/Assonolo dealer and rental organisation. Over the past 15 years he has trained over 1000 people in rental and has supported the development of many rental companies in Italy.

He has been a fantastic ambassador and resource for the European Rental Association and this industry and this award coincides with the publishing of his new book - Creating Wealth with Rental.

It is the perfect time to acknowledge publicly the enormous contribution that the winner of this award has made over his career.

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