Jobs under threat as Speedy Hire issues second profits warning

Cost savings at Speedy Hire are expected to result in around 200 job cuts.

Cost savings at Speedy Hire are expected to result in around 200 job cuts. - Credit: Vismedia

Tool rental business Speedy Hire is cutting around 200 jobs in the UK as it struggles to turn around falling sales.

Speedy Hire today issued its second profits warning in three months, adding that it now expects revenues at its core hire unit to be around 10% below last year.

It said it was implementing cutbacks including £6million of savings from staff costs, although it did not spell out details of any job cuts, It is understood, however, that 200 jobs will go across the group, with around one third coming through redundancies and the rest achieved via natural wastage.

Speedy Hire employs 3,200 people in the UK and Ireland and around 3,800 across the group, which also trades in the Middle East and Kazakhstan. It said in its latest statement that it now anticipates profits will be weighted to the second half of the year and will be “materially below current market expectations”.

The firm’s chief executive, Mark Rogerson, stepped down when it issued its first profits warning in July.

The latest alert comes after rival HSS Hire last week replaced its chief executive, Chris Davies, a month after it reported deepening half-year losses and issued a profit warning that sent its share price plummeting. HSS blamed slower-than-expected housing and home improvement markets.

Speedy Hire said the measures it has taken to turn around the business include restructuring its depot network and cutting its overheads.

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It added that it expects its overheads to be around £13m below last year, with around £10m of these savings coming from its UK and Ireland operations, and of this £6m coming from staff costs.

Executive chairman Jan Astrand said: “Following the extremely disappointing start to the year, we have taken action to grow revenue and cut costs.

“Whilst these actions will take time to come to fruition, we believe they will deliver material benefits over the medium term.”

Investec analyst Andrew Gibb added: “Today’s trading update conveys further disappointment, with the resolution of the previously identified legacy issues set to take longer than originally anticipated.”

Speedy Hire appointed Russell Down, group finance director, as chief executive in July to replace Mr Rogerson, although he will also retain the finance role until a replacement is hired.