200 jobs at risk at tool hire firm with branches in Sunderland, Hartlepool and Peterlee

The Speedy Hire tool depot in Southwick, Sunderland. The firm has announced 200 jobs are to go nationwide. Pic: Google Maps.
The Speedy Hire tool depot in Southwick, Sunderland. The firm has announced 200 jobs are to go nationwide. Pic: Google Maps.

A tool rental business with outlets in Sunderland, Peterlee and Hartlepool is cutting around 200 jobs in the UK, as it struggles to turn around falling sales.

Speedy Hire, based on Merseyside, has issued its second profits warning in three months, saying it expects revenues at its core hire unit to be around 10 per cent lower than last year.

It said it was implementing cutbacks including £6million cut from staff costs.

The company, which is the UK’s leading tools, equipment and plant hire business, did not spell out details of where jobs will go.

But it is understood it will mean 200 going across the group, with a third coming through redundancies and the rest achieved through natural wastage.

The business employs 3,200 people in the UK and Ireland and around 3,800 across the group, which also trades in the Middle East and Kazakhstan.

It said in its latest statement that it now anticipates profits will be weighted to the second half of the year and will be “materially below current market expectations”.

Shares plummeted more than 13 per cent, and have fallen by more than half this year.

The firm’s chief executive, Mark Rogerson, stepped down when it issued its first profits warning in July.

The latest alert comes after rival HSS Hire last week replaced its chief executive, Chris Davies, a month after it reported deepening half-year losses and issued a profit warning that sent its share price plummeting.

HSS blamed slower-than-expected housing and home improvement markets.

Speedy Hire said the measures it has taken to turn around the business include restructuring its depot network and cutting its overheads.

Executive chairman Jan Astrand said: “Following the extremely disappointing start to the year, we have taken action to grow revenue and cut costs.

“Whilst these actions will take time to come to fruition, we believe they will deliver material benefits over the medium term.”

Speedy has two depots on Peterlee’s South West Industrial Estate, one in Hepworth Road, Southwick, Sunderland, one in Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, and others in North Shields, Newcastle, Consett and Middlesbrough.