Bullish IronPlanet predicts strong sales for 2015
Felipe Fernández-Urrutia Massó of auction operation IronPlanet is bullish for the firm's prospects in Europe
Auction operation IronPlanet says that 2014 has proved to be a strong year for its business development. The company has grown significantly since it began as an idea in a Harvard Business School working group, which suggested an online auction business to buy and sell machines. And six years from its move to expand into EMEA, the company says it has sold over US$ 3 billion worth of used equipment worldwide.
Felipe Fernández-Urrutia Massó, vice president of European sales at IronPlanet discussed the company’s plans for the upcoming year. “In 2014, we consolidated a number of large, international accounts – from rental companies like Loxam and Ramirent, to major contractors throughout Europe, such as Bouygues and Vinci in France, and FCC and Ferrovial in Spain,” said Fdez-Urrutia. “These renewed, bolstered partnerships are made possible thanks to the strength of our online business model, which enables us to sell equipment after a project has finished from any part of the world – whether from Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Colombia or Australia.”
“For IronPlanet, success largely depends upon understanding the construction market conditions, and how well we respond to these,” Fdez-Urrutia explained. “When the market is up, there is usually new equipment being bought, and this consequently means there is old equipment that needs to be sold,” he continued. “Equally, if the market is down, people are more likely to buy used machines rather than make large investments on new machinery – it’s very circular.”
Fdez-Urrutia predicts that 2015 will bring with it – once again – relatively mixed European construction market performance. “The Southern European markets will remain the same, without much activity. The French construction market has also dipped somewhat, and this is not likely to change in 2015. However, we recognize that, as a result of this, there are opportunities for us to sell equipment from France, as fleets are downsized.”
He emphasised that the construction markets of Northern Europe were a different story. “The North is far more stable,” he stated. “The UK market is doing well, Ireland is beginning to pick up again, and whilst the Dutch market has dipped slightly, it is nowhere near at the same rate as the South. Scandinavia looks set to have mixed successes – whilst Denmark is picking up at a very slow rate and Finland is likely to be heavily affected by problems in Russia, by contrast there are large projects happening this year in both Sweden and Norway. These projects mean new equipment is being bought, and therefore used equipment will be sold to make way for the newer machines.”
“We are quick to reinforce our sales teams in regions where we see an emerging trend that will have an effect on the buying or selling of used equipment. We have already done this in France and in Scandinavia,” Fdez-Urrutia added.
The company is also looking to further develop its operations, with its revised website offering new features and greater functionality, playing a key role. The company has also achieved major success in North America and in addition to the new and improved website, IronPlanet has had two other especially notable US-based developments. “One of the most important events that occurred last year was the signing of an agreement to merge IronPlanet and Associated Auction Services, an alliance of Caterpillar and several of its independent Cat dealers, that operates under the name of Cat Auction Services.”