thl takes over El Monte

North America’s second larger RV rental company based on fleet size, El Monte, has been acquired by Auckland-based motor home specialist, thl (Tourism Holdings Ltd) for NZ$93.5 million.

The addition expands thl’s portfolio of brands to six, joining Kea, Maui, Britz, Mighty Campers and Road Bear.

El Monte has over 30 locations spread across the USA, predominately in California, as well as in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New York, Utah and six other states. Only Cruise America is larger in size than El Monte RV.

The acquisition rapidly expands thl’s presence in the US, while complementing its existing boutique operation, Road Bear RV, which it bought seven years ago for US$17 million and has seven outlets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, New York and Orlando.

thl chairman Rob Campbell said the purchase was part of the company’s newly revised growth goal to achieve NZ$50m net profit after tax in financial year 2020.

“We are making the right steps to be truly global in our platform,” Campbell said in December when announcing the buy-out, flagging potential expansion to Europe “at the right time”.

El Monte will continue to operate separately for at least the first 12 months.

CEO of thl Grant Webster said El Monte’s operational excellence, meshed with its approach to “capital deployment is expected to create realisable synergies”.

“We are looking forward to combining fleet procurement, operating different rental brands and maximising RV sales through both our traditional wholesale channels and the El Monte retail sites; a model we know. This is a much lower risk than trying to grow an equivalent market share from the Road Bear platform,” Webster said.