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It may be best known as a good place to hire an angle grinder for a few days, but 90% of this company’s business is with trade customers. HSS recently won a five-year, multi-million-pound contract for the provision of equipment to Thames Water, while other clients are in the building, maintenance and refurbishment sectors. In 2007 the company was bought for £310m by Och-Ziff Capital and Archie Norman’s investment vehicle, Aurigo. Sales from its 232 outlets rose to £167.8m in 2010 under chief executive Chris Davies.

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Company details
CompanyHSS Hire Group
ActivityTool and equipment hirer
Sales £m167.8
Operating profit £m11.9
Main shareholdersAurigo (62%), Och-Ziff (27%), management (8%), Barclays Wealth Trustees (3%)

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda