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Sargent targets Pilbara rental market
The West Australian

Fleet services provider Sargent is a company in a hurry when it comes to the WA resources industry.

The Queensland-based vehicle rental and maintenance business has quickly emerged as a major player in the Pilbara through a series of acquisitions.

Chief executive Grant Chugg reckons Sargent is already among the top three providers in the North West along with Thrifty and McLaren's Raw Hire but is not content to leave it at that.

"We believe in the long-term picture for the Pilbara and we believe we want to become the dominant leader in the marketplace," Mr Chugg said. The timeframe for that goal is just two to three years.

Sargent has doubled its turnover in WA after three acquisitions in the past 18 months: Hedland Diesel and Exhaust in Port Hedland, a Bridgestone tyre centre in Newman and Karratha-based North West Mechanical.

"We will continue looking for opportunities to expand our footprint across the State in 2013," Mr Chugg said.

The focus on growing the maintenance side of the business is designed to ensure the company can have a one-stop shop presence in the Pilbara. Sargent also claims a competitive advantage - an Australia-wide service for clients.

"We're able to offer them a national footprint and national contracts and also access to our national fleet," Mr Chugg said. "People want national coverage."

Owned by private equity player NBC Capital and chaired by NBC director Bernard Stapleton, Sargent's revenue rose 14 per cent in the past financial year and its fleet grew 24 per cent to nearly 3800 vehicles.

The resource industry- focused company has not been deterred by recent volatility in the iron ore sector.

"We're taking a 10 to 15 year view of the Pilbara," Mr Chugg said. "We're not overly concerned at all at the short-term commodity price fluctuations."