Pioneer invests $10m in new UK pump rental business

By Murray Pollok28 January 2013

Simon Ruffles, managing director of Pioneer Pump Ltd.

Simon Ruffles, managing director of Pioneer Pump Ltd.

Pump manufacturer Pioneer Pump is to establish a major pump rental operation in the UK with an initial US$ 10 million fleet investment over the next 12 months.

The fleet will comprise around 250 Pioneer-made diesel pumps and a further 240 electric submersible pumps to be ordered from a still unidentified outside supplier. All the pumps will be specialist high-head, high-flow units targeted primarily at applications in mining, quarries and oil and gas.

Simon Ruffles, managing director of Pioneer Pump Ltd in the UK, told IRN; “We have some very big accounts and customers in the UK, and for some of them their business model is changing. That’s why they are asking for rental.”

Pioneer Pumps in North America will not follow the UK rental model and will continue to sell pumps to existing rental businesses and other customers there, said Dennis Mitchell, chairman of Pioneer Pump Ltd and a vice president of US-based sister company Pioneer Pump Inc.

Mr Mitchell confirmed, however, that the rental model could be extended to other non-North American markets if the UK operation was successful. “Were exploring other opportunities at this point”, he said.

The UK business is being renamed Pioneer Pump Solutions to reflect the addition of pump rental services and four rental hubs will be established in the UK over the coming months, two in England, one in Wales and one in Scotland. Tom Nicholson, an experienced pump rental manager who joined Pioneer a year ago as national sales manager for the UK and Ireland, becomes operations director for the pump rental business.

The investment funds have been provided by Pioneer’s parent company, US-based Franklin Electric, which acquired Pioneer last year. More funds may be available for further growth after the first tranche of investment.

“Further investment [from Franklin Electric] will be driven by demand, utilisation and customers", said Mr Mitchell, who will have global responsibility for the Pioneer rental operations, "At this point, we haven’t fully evaluated that investment”.

The UK fleet will be rented directly to large end user customers and re-rented to private rental companies who don’t have larger pumps in their fleets. The fleet will also be made available to Pioneer’s distributors outside the UK, some of whom have established rental businesses.

Read the full interview in the March issue of IRN magazine.

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