Hick Bros Civil Construction
Case Study

At GE Capital, our expertise in asset finance, strong industry knowledge and flexible lending solutions meant we could support Hick Bros as the company expanded and more than doubled in size.

Background

Thirty years ago four brothers from Silverdale - Bob, Wayne, Bill and Steve were all working in the earthmoving industry, primarily as individual subcontractors but they would often come together to work on larger projects. With their combined, extensive experience in the industry they decided to join forces to create a company and in 1986 Hick Bros Civil Construction was formed. At that time they employed 15 staff and were subcontracting earthworks to larger companies. In 1989, a fifth brother, Gary, joined the company bringing with him experience in both management and company administration.

By the new millennium Bob and Bill had left the company to pursue their own interests and during this time of change Hick Bros saw a need to grow and expand. As part of this growth strategy they strengthened their in house expertise and brought on Mark Cole as Project Engineer. Mark was later given the opportunity to join the partnership and take over as Managing Director when Gary made the decision to move into retirement.

Mark assisted in the development of company management and enabled more substantial projects to be undertaken as head contractor. Hick Bros were soon able to offer clients a complete package of civil works and, thanks to their philosophy to remain mobile, Hick Bros began to pick up new contracts from around New Zealand.

The challenge

However with the big contracts came the need for increased capital, stronger cash flow, balanced workloads and increased demand for equipment. As the company grew they needed to look at different ways to obtain machinery and had to find a financing option that worked for them.

"A business like ours requires considerable capital. If we win a new $10million contract, then we need additional resource; and that resource is expensive" says Managing Director Mark Cole.

The company's new business base would see them invest in their own machinery and to do that they needed a finance company that would support them over the long term.

Solution

GE Capital worked closely with Hick Bros to establish a revolving credit facility which not only gave them the confidence of having funding lines to buy new equipment in NZ when they needed it, but also the flexibility and speed to import and purchase heavy machinery whenever the company sourced good opportunities to acquire assets from overseas.

Our in-depth relationship with the team at Hick Bros and strong knowledge of their industry gave us the confidence to ensure funds were available to quickly purchase machinery to support new work opportunities. The assurance of funding support enabled Hick Bros to grow substantially; they now employ 200 staff and own 150 items of machinery. They have become one of the few New Zealand civil construction companies to have bases in the North and South Islands, making them extremely mobile and able to fulfil contracts from Queenstown to Northland.

So how important is a relationship with a company like GE Capital? Crucial. They're as important part of our business as our clients. Without our clients we don't have a business; without a partner like GE Capital we don't have a business; it is as simple as that. They are crucial, we need them.

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