Stokes takes total control of National Hire

Seven's three-month hunt for huge rental business with truck business comes to fruition

December 6, 2011

Seven Group, the Kerry Stokes-chaired investment firm, has bought enough of truck and equipment rental firm National Hire Group to compulsorily acquire the outstanding shares.

Once done, National Hire will be delisted from the stock exchange.

Seven raised its holding to 98.7 percent after investment firm Elph, owned by Tasmanian businessman Dale Elphinstone and the second-largest shareholder, sold yesterday the 21.9 percent of National Hire that it held.

"We remain positive about the future prospect of Coates Hire, Allight/Sykes and the other National Hire businesses," Elphinstone says, adding that the majority that Seven already had gained and the prospect of a delisting had made the divestment logical.

Coates Hire, which claims the mantle of the country’s largest equipment rental firm, runs a fleet of mostly Isuzu 1.7-7 tonne flatbed, pantech tilt and tipper vehicles.

National Hire reported a net profit of $26.5 million last financial year, up from $4.1 million the year before.

Seven opened its offer for National Hire in September.

Seven and private equity firm Carlyle linked to take over Coates Hire in 2008 and specualation has since centred on when a float or divestment would occur.

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