Byrne Equipment Rental: 30 Years of Market Leadership

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Although the Byrne name has a long history, the company as it stands today dates back to 1990, before it was subsequently sold by its original owner to HSBC private equity in 2007.

From its roots in the provision of standard mainstream equipment such as generators and compressors, Byrne Equipment Rental has become recognised as one of the largest and longest established rental companies operating in the Gulf region. In fact, from its base in Dubai the company has pioneered the development of the region’s equipment rental market with what is one of the most diverse fleets of plant and equipment from a single supplier.

This diversity has been the result of a strategy of investing in equipment based upon client requests and perceived market potential. By developing in the direction of demand, Byrne Equipment Rental has ended up with a broad range of equipment, as opposed to specialising in one specific area. In that respect, over the last few years Byrne Equipment Rental has moved its focus away from its primary market in the construction industry and looked to explore new markets such as oil and gas, and the projects and events sector.

As well as its Dubai headquarters, Byrne Equipment Rental maintains its presence in the region through independent entities in its other markets of Oman, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is in these latter two that the business undertakes the majority of its oil and gas activities. Byrne Equipment Rental CEO Graeme Clack elaborates: “We have a strong base within the specialist contractors that undertake major operations such as refinery shut downs. These clients have particularly high peaks of demand for certain pieces of equipment due to the intense nature of the work schedule during that shutdown.

“Over the last couple of years we have also moved into more specialist equipment applications. One key example is our work at a refinery in Saudi Arabia, which is currently in the commissioning stage. Here we have provided oil free compressors and desiccant dryers to enable the refinery to commission its instrument air system, whilst ensuring we have 100 per cent redundancy and back up within the system. We also work alongside other specialist companies in delivering full system solutions to the client. Another refinery project we are currently engaged in required high volumes of air conditioning, which is not typically part of our business. However, we have sourced this specialist equipment from an appropriate source, and delivered it along with all of the required power supplies. For Byrne Equipment Rental, it is as much about providing a service to the oil companies as it is about supplying the equipment.”

In order to continue to meet these client demands, Byrne Equipment Rental pays close attention to the regular updating of its product portfolio, both in terms of existing equipment and new additions: “One aspect of this is the straightforward replacement of equipment as it reaches the end of its reliable life. In recent years we have been very keen to push ahead in equipment replacement and renewal of our fleet.

He continues: “There is also the opportunity to move into new plant and equipment types, which we primarily do in co-operation with our clients. By identifying the type of product we supply them with, we can look at ways of improving our service to them through broadening that range into other areas that they require. This means that we can move into new areas with a degree of confidence that there will be a rental demand for that product as we have already worked out an arrangement with the client.”

Over the last 12 months Byrne Equipment Rental has moved into a new facility in Abu Dhabi, which is twice the size of its previous site, and undertaken a similar move in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. This has enabled it to hold a broader range of equipment, with greater number of employees to execute its services. The company has also recently signed an agreement with a world-leading supplier of prefabricated modular structures – Algeco, which is based in France – offering flat pack systems for buildings and rapid erection warehouses. “Given its reputation as the best in the business we want to align ourselves with this company and therefore have become an exclusive distributor for its product range. Although there is a degree of conflict with some of the products we already offer, we feel that this move will bring additional growth to the business, and increase our offering in a key product,” adds Graeme.

Whilst Byrne Equipment Rental has maintained strong growth in trading volumes on a year-on-year basis, Graeme recognises the impact of economic changes on the business: “Inevitably the whole market has had to review and operate to reduced margins. The Gulf region has traditionally been construction dominated and therefore there was a lot of construction based investment and growth. Although Saudi Arabia remains strong in this regard, the rest of the region is operating at a completely different scale now. However we are seeing sound new projects emerging in both the construction and oil and gas industries, and are moving forward with a greater degree of pragmatism and stability.”

Crucially, the business is already attuned to potential opportunities to increase its market presence by widening its regional spread, as Graeme concludes: “Our business model is based upon sustaining a high visibility in the market and leveraging that brand, and this is something we have worked on a lot over the years. Fundamental to the business is our ability to continue to grow, both in a geographical and product sense. One aspect of this is to open new depots in Saudi Arabia.

“We also see opportunities in Kuwait, both in the oil and gas, and more general sectors, and as such are considering this market very closely. This in turn opens up greater possibilities of moving into south Iraq as well. As well as broadening our geographical position, we are equally looking at a shift in the way that we go about securing and targeting business. This is based around a move towards larger umbrella type contracts as opposed to single machine hire on an item-by-item basis. In this respect, I believe we will see a greater number of alliances with specialist providers in order for us to offer a complete solution to our clients, and take full responsibility for their rental needs.”

Byrne Equipment Rental LLC
Services: Equipment rental