Plant hire specialist Gap Group signs £70m deal

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TOOL and plant hire firm Gap Group is predicting another year of rising sales and turnover after securing a £70 million credit line that will allow the company to continue its expansion drive.

The Glasgow-based company signed a three-year agreement with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to borrow against the value of its equipment and other assets. This credit line will be used to open “at least” three to four sites per year.

Gap Group chairman Danny O’Neil felt confident despite lingering economic uncertainties. Turnover for the current financial year to 31 March is expected to rise to roughly £95m, with profits increasing by an estimated 15 per cent to more than £7m.

“Obviously the sector and the whole economy went through a pretty tough time post-crunch,” O’Neil said. “In the past few years we have come back very strongly, and we feel confident about the next few years.”

In conjunction with the three-year credit agreement, GAP is transferring all of its banking to RBS, ending a long-standing relationship with Clydesdale Bank. O’Neil said Gap chose RBS after a formal review that lasted nearly four months. The decision to launch that review was prompted by “changes in the banking sector”.

“In addition to financial considerations, we were looking for a partner to support us in our ambitions to continue to 
expand and diversify,” he said.

Gap opened eight depots during the past year, taking the total number of UK sites to 67. Established in 1969 by Gordon Anderson, the company is today run by his sons Douglas and Iain.