Hewden reported earnings before interest and tax at £25.1million (€36.8m) for 2005 and a rise of 3.2% in turnover to £297.1m (€436m). It believes the results show that the rental equipment provider maintains a substantial leadership position in the hire industry despite increasingly aggressive competition and the acquisition strategies of competitors.

At the start of 2005, Hewden integrated its plant and tool hire business into one entity, to enable, it said, customers to deal with one organisation for all their plant and tool needs.

Brian Sherlock, managing director, said: “We have no intention of standing still – we will continue to move closer to our customers.”

He added that Hewden is the only company able to offer a complete range of plant, tools, access, accommodation, cranes, hoists, sites services and power generation equipment from a single point of contact.

“In fact,” he continued, “revenue from customers who took advantage of the complete Hewden offering grew by 21% in 2005.”

In the third quarter of the year, Hewden announced a £13.8m (€20.2m) investment in new IT systems designed to improve the quality of customer information and services and reduce transaction costs.

A realignment of key back office functions also took place in the third quarter as a result of an 18-month re-evaluation of its support services. Hewden started this year with the agreement of a contract with Wates Group – worth, it claimed, over £5m (€7.3m).

Sherlock concluded: “We expect to win more exclusive contracts in the face of the major changes in the last financial year that will enable Hewden customers to reduce their own costs and risks.”

Canadian-based Finning International, reported annual earnings at record levels with turnover of CAN$4,835m (€3,512m) and earnings before interest and tax of CAN$285m (€207m).

Hewden said that it will invest heavily in a major marketing campaign in the UK this year, including a key health and safety initiative relating to new noise regulations.