Fallen IT and audiovisual rentals giant Livingston's demise was due solely to the collapse of Icelandic backer Landsbanki and not any underlying issues, its new owner has stressed.
Global IT rentals outfit Xchange Technology Group (XTG) grabbed Germany-based Livingston's assets from administration earlier this month, five months after buying UK competitor Hamilton Rentals.
Hamilton and Livingston were regarded as the dominant forces in the UK and continental European IT rental markets respectively, and XTG now has 21 facilities in nine countries.
John Unsworth, executive group director of XTG, stressed that Livingston was growing and profitable and that Hamilton was able to retain 66 of its 83 German staff and about 90 employees overall. It will now operate under the Hamilton Rentals brand.
Landsbanki ran aground in 2008 and was forcibly taken over by the Iceland Financial Supervisory Authority. Unsworth said the bank's demise hit Livingstone hard.
"Landsbanki was, by a significant percentage, Livingston's largest funding line," he explained. "It called in the loan in an unreasonably brisk timeframe and Livingston could not pay.
"XTG bought Hamilton to establish a beachhead to rapidly expand in EMEA and the opportunity to acquire our main competitor represented a huge step forward if we could reach the right terms."
Unsworth said Livingston's integration into Hamilton would create a €50m (£44m) IT rentals superpower. The acquisition will also strengthen its ties with key vendors including IBM, Lenovo and Fujitsu, he said.
Livingston had only a couple of UK staff but Unsworth said the acquisition would increase economies of scale for UK reseller and vendor customers.
"We have significantly more stock at our disposal than any other rental business," he explained.
Hamilton has changed hands several times since its then parent Compel was acquired by 2e2 in 2007, but Unsworth said the rentals market is in good health.
"The market is heavily influenced by the economic climate," he said.
"Having the ability to put in equipment and prove concepts at relatively little cost to the end user will help sales."
Hamish Forbes, sales manager at Aberdeen-based Apple rentals specialist Rent IT, agreed that the rentals market had picked up in the past six months as customers look to cater for increased demand without unnecessary capital expenditure.
He said Hamilton and Livingston were the market's two 800lb gorillas.
"Below them, there is a tier of national suppliers and a lot of smaller firms working locally," Forbes said. "It needs a significant capital investment to enter the market."
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