Commercial vehicle contract hire and rental specialist Burnt Tree has been bought by car and van rental firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car.


The purchase is "intended to increases the breadth of vehicles and services that Enterprise can provide to its customers under its flexible commercial vehicle hire division, Flex-E-Rent", the company said.

The agreement includes Burnt Tree’s diverse commercial fleet of 17,000 vehicles, including commercial vans, HGVs, refrigerated trucks and accessible minibuses, its proprietary fleet management technologies, as well as its network of 20 branches and 400 staff.

Burnt Tree is strong in the light CV sector and has focused on short term rental rather than contract hire. Last year, Burnt Tree launched a temperature controlled vehicle division, Refrigerental, sponsor of the Temperature Controlled Operator of the Year category of the 2014 Motor Transport Awards.

In the short-term, the Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and Burnt Tree businesses will continue to operate as two separate brands, with a view to creating a combined entity that will be headquartered in Shrewsbury. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will take Enterprise's fleet of commercial vans and trucks to more than 25,000.

In the 2014 CV Informer rankings of rental companies, Burnt Tree was number seven with 1,500 trucks and 15,000 vans. Enterprise came in at number 13 with 11,000 vans on the books. The deal will push the combined company up to number four ahead of Arval and Ryder, though Ryder remains the UK's largest truck rental business by far with 12,000 trucks and 2,000 vans.

Enterprise UK and Ireland MD, Mike Nigro, said: "We could immediately see the potential of Burnt Tree to give our customers access to skills and services that are particularly suited to the needs of commercial vehicle customers. Burnt Tree also has the same culture of delivering outstanding customer service as Enterprise and shares a rich heritage of conducting business in the UK.

"The combined business post-acquisition will be far stronger with greater economies of scale and better technology, while the transfer of knowledge will allow us to better serve our customers."

The new business will be led by Danny Glynn, director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, while Burnt Tree chief executive Richard Metcalfe will remain in an advisory capacity to help steer the direction of the combined business.

Metcalfe said: “Last year we stated our ambition to become the leading and largest business in our industry. In time, this agreement will allow Burnt Tree to achieve its full potential to become the market leader. It will become part of the world’s largest vehicle rental company, which, like Burnt Tree, is privately owned.

Burnt Tree has been operating for more than 30 years, while Enterprise is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the UK this year. As well as its Flex-E-Rent division, Enterprise also operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from the UK’s largest network of car hire branches.