Odyssey in $510m rental deal

The New York-based private equity firm has agreed to take a Miami construction equipment renter private, adding to its suite of equipment management investments.

Odyssey Investment Partners is taking construction equipment renter Neff Corp. private in a $510 million (€395 million) deal. The private equity firm will acquire Neff’s equity for $240.5 million, as well as securities and other debt.

It is the second investment of Odyssey’s third fund, which closed last week on $750 million.

In a statement, the firm predicted stockholders would receive between $8.19 and $8.27 per share of stock. Neff’s stock was trading at $7.61 Thursday on the Over-The-Counter board, significantly up from a 52-week low of less than a dollar. Neff was traded on New York Stock Exchange, but delisted in late 2001.

The Miami, Florida-based company rents construction equipment to smaller construction firms, municipalities, utility companies and industrial users through its 66 branches in the Southeast and Western US.  

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005 and is subject to approval by the firm’s stockholders. Neff will continue to be headquartered in Miami and Juan Carlos Mas will remain president and chief executive officer. Neff’s management will retain a significant stake in the company.  

Neff is the firm’s fourth platform in the equipment management sector. The portfolio includes mobile storage unit lessor Williams Scotsman, portable restroom provider United Site Services and concrete forming machinery renter Dayton Superior. The firm said all four companies share a customer base.  

Odyssey Investment’s first fund closed in 1998 on $760 million and became fully invested in 2004. The firm has more than $1.2 billion under management. Odyssey chairman Stephen Berger was the executive vice-president of GE Capital and the chairman and chief executive officer of Financial Guaranty Insurance Company.