Sumitomo Takes 80% Stake in Sunstate Equipment Rentals

Investment heralds Sumitomo's belief that now is the time to grow the Southwest regional construction equipment rental firm's business

Sumitomo Corp., through its SMS International subsidiary, increased its ownership stake to 80 percent of Sunstate Equipment Co.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Sunstate is an aerial- and construction-equipment rental company with 30 branch locations in nine states primarily in the southwestern U.S. Sunstate was founded in 1977, and with $178 million in revenues ranks 14th on RER's Top 100 list, just behind Neff Rental and All Erection & Crane.

Sumitomo made its original investment in Sunstate in 2009, convinced that industry was poised for long-term growth despite the ongoing severe downturn.

The company's press release announcing the investment says, "Sumitomo believes that now is the opportune time to further grow Sunstate's business because U.S. equipment rental industry still fragmented today and the industry is expected to grow due to continued increase in the rental penetration." 

Mike Watts and the existing Sunstate management team is expected to continue to operate the business and remain in their current roles.

Sumitomo currently operates construction equipment dealerships in North America with annual turnover of approximately $1.68 billion. Sumitomo also owns eastern Canada's SMS Rents. Through this investment in Sunstate, Sumitomo is determined to expand its equipment rental business portfolio and become a leading company in the North American equipment rental market.