Fleet News

Jobs lost as Enterprise integrates SHB Hire

Enterprise Flex-E-Rent Luton

Enterprise has confirmed that 286 people no longer work for the company as a result of the integration of SHB Hire into its Flex-E-Rent business.

The vehicle rental company also told Fleet News that as a result of merging operations, some depots had closed.

There were four locations where it had depots too close to each other, so it retained the one that was “best suited to the needs of customers”, it said.

In addition, a small two-person satellite premises has been closed along with two direct-to-public used vehicle sales businesses at Exeter and Gloucester.

Nevertheless, the combined business can now claim to be one of the largest commercial vehicle hire providers in the UK, with a fleet of more than 44,000 vehicles and 28 regional depots across.

The job losses come as the vehicle rental industry is counting the cost of the coronavirus crisis.

Car hire has been especially disadvantaged as lockdown measures forced a rapid decline in leisure traffic (read more in the June digital edition of Fleet News), with more potential job losses to follow.

Employees at Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and SHB Hire were told their jobs could be at risk at the start of the year, when the company began integrating the two businesses.

Enterprise said branches of the businesses could also be closed, with some depots serving the same areas.

At the time, the rental company would not disclose the number of staff at risk, or which depots could be shut down, but Fleet News sources suggested that up to 300 staff and nine depots could be affected.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK announced it was buying SHB Hire in March, 2019. The acquisition, it said, would enable Enterprise to "deliver increased value and choice to its Flex-E-Rent customers". It followed Enterprise's strategy to diversify its Flex-E-Rent business both organically and through acquisition (it acquired commercial vehicle provider Burnt Tree in 2014). 

Enterprise’s acquisition of SHB Hire included a diverse rental fleet of more than 18,500 vehicles ranging from cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), golf buggies and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), 4x4s, HGV tippers and specialist HGVs.

When announcing the deal last year, SHB Hire chairman, Mike Street, who entered the Fleet News Hall of Fame in 2018, said that handing over SHB Hire had been a “difficult decision”.

However, he said he was confident that the deal with Enterprise Flex-E-Rent provided an “outstanding opportunity for both companies’ customers and employees”.

Speaking to Fleet News in November 2019, Adrian Bewley, director of business mobility, UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, explained that they were at the early stages of integrating the business.

“Bringing it all together will take time as we’re mindful of what created such a wonderful business and we recognise the importance of retaining those qualities,” he said.

For more on how the rental sector has been impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, see the June digital edition of Fleet News

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