Speedy move for Chris Masters as he joins hire firm's board

CHRIS Masters, the former executive chairman of Glasgow-based temporary power supplier Aggreko, was yesterday named as a non-executive director at equipment rental firm Speedy Hire.

Masters - who led the de-merger of Aggreko from logistics group Christian Salvesen in 1997 - took early retirement in May 2002 at the age of 55.

He has since built up a portfolio of non-executive appointments, which include serving as senior independent director of both Aberdeen-based energy services giant Wood Group and Dundee investment manager Alliance Trust.

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His previous roles have included spells as chairman of both STV-forerunner Scottish Media Group between 2004 and 2007 and of technology and product developer Sagentia from 2006 until last year.

Masters will replace Peter Atkinson, chief executive of Glasgow-based packaging maker Macfarlane Group, who has been a non-executive director at Speedy Hire since June 2005 and who will step down on 13 July.

Ishbel Macpherson, Speedy hire's chairman, said: "I am delighted to welcome Chris to the board. His extensive experience - in equipment hire and logistics in particular - will be most valuable and we look forward to his contribution."

News of Masters' appointment came as Speedy Hire secured a 220 million asset-based "revolving credit agreement" with a syndicate of six banks to replace its existing 210m cashflow-based loan facility, which was due to mature in June 2012.

US lenders Bank of America and GE Capital joined Speedy Hire's existing banks - Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland - to finance the facility, which matures in January 2015.

Philip Sparks, an analyst at Evolution Securities, noted that the margin Speedy Hire will pay on the new facility is cheaper than its previous arrangements. He said the "asset-backed borrowing increases investment flexibility".