Merrimak Capital Company, LLC
Equipment leasing and asset recovery
Business View Magazine interviews Mary Kariotis, President and CEO of Merrimak Capital Company, LLC – best practices in equipment leasing.
Merrimak Capital Company, LLC was founded in 1991 and is based in Novato, California, with operations in Oregon, Massachusetts, Ohio, Southern California, Canada, and Mexico. The company provides global equipment leasing, asset resale services, and fleet management solutions to large corporations, worldwide. “We were established as an asset resale company focused on IT equipment,” says President and CEO, Mary Kariotis. “We began our leasing services in ’96 and completely restructured the company in 2008 to focus serving the Fortune 500 and the like as a WBENC-certified, woman-owned company. In 2009, we brought on several Fortune 100 companies with whom we originated hundreds of millions of dollars in new business, and who are still active customers, today. Over the past ten years, we have added well over a hundred Fortune 500 and the like, and consistently find ourselves as the preferred provider for nearly every account we serve.”
Merrimak Capital Company offers its large corporate clients a portfolio of four main services: Equipment Leasing, Asset Resale, Fleet Management and Asset Tracking. Material handling equipment (MHE) and IT equipment remain the focus for asset resale. With IT Asset Disposition “ITAD” (resale/recycling of IT equipment), services are built around strict Chain of Custody protocols and repurposing unwanted IT equipment with responsible recycling in a safe and ecologically-responsible process for obsolete equipment. ITAD service providers, such as Merrimak, specialize in the process of streamlining the disposition of IT assets, while minimizing costs and maximizing resale values.
Kariotis explains that “Merrimak’s main revenue is generated from selling the off-lease equipment that is returned at the end of the lease term, by repurposing the assets and maximizing their resale value.” Merrimak’s primary focus remains in the leasing of technology equipment, material handling fleets and machine tools, but the company actively leases other assets such as ground-support equipment (GSE), aviation components, tractor-trailers, service carts, golf carts, specialized vehicles, fitness equipment, generators, conveyors, LED lighting, building improvements, and other types of capital equipment.
Fleet Management services help corporations and individuals gain better insight of equipment efficiency of their MHE by collecting, selecting, analyzing, and reporting data. The Merrimak Fleet Management team makes site visits to assist with equipment optimization. iTrack is Merrimak Capital Company’s proprietary and web-based Asset Tracking tool, which currently tracks thousands of assets, regardless of lessor, through real-time software. Merrimak’s Asset Tracking software is programmed to communicate directly with the manufactures telematic devices capturing operational data and maintenance records. In addition, Merrimak accepts local returns around the globe and offers foreign currency exchange.
In a largely unregulated and competitive marketplace, Kariotis says that Merrimak Capital Company’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to remarket the equipment it recovers itself, rather than giving it to broker/dealers at wholesale rates. “If you don’t take the extra steps to maximize resale values, 20 to 40 percent of the revenue is left on the table, which is money that can be given back to the customer in the form of a credit to accommodate damaged equipment charges” she notes. “Merrimak maximizes the resale value and delivers that savings to our customers.”
“Another reason Merrimak Capital Company is so competitive is a result of the way the company is capitalized,” explains Kariotis. “We utilize our own funds; we’re building our own balance sheet and we guarantee all the residual risk. We leverage our own net worth to get equity dollars – we’re not using private equity or subordinated debt; it’s our own money that we’re investing to create equity and we rarely syndicate leases, which makes us more competitive.”
“We don’t employ the typical sales force that makes 20 percent of the margins off the top, which is substantial,” she continues. “The sales originate at the executive level and then we have very strong support teams – a pricing team that runs all the proposals and an asset resale team responsible for all the remarketing at the end of lease. This strategy gives the company more control and allows us to be more competitive. We have a very efficient, but relatively small, workforce relative to the hundreds of millions of dollars of leases that we originate.”
“Finally, our customers are extremely well-supported,” she concludes. “We’re very customer-service oriented and we respond very quickly. We act as a partner and we’re not just working in our own self-interest, but in the mutual interest of our customers.”
High on Kariotis’ agenda for both the near and long-term future is sustainable growth. “Merrimak is an innovative and growing company,” she states. “We just purchased a new building for our corporate headquarters that will accommodate our projected growth over the next five years with a large warehouse space for equipment remarketing. Last year, we opened another warehouse in Ohio which is working out well for reselling used lift trucks and IT equipment. The Ohio warehouse serves as a central hub that supports Canada and the eastern corridor. We’re continuing to bring on ten to fifteen new customers, annually, that typically fall into the Fortune 500 or the like profile, and we’re consistently expanding the existing accounts that we’re already working with.”
Over the next several years, Kariotis says she anticipates the company’s annual earnings continuing to increase approximately 25 percent over revenues. “I’m also hoping that in five years, we have solidly engaged 50 percent of the Fortune 500 as active customers and that we are ranked as one of the top three independent lessors in the industry. We will accomplish this by continuing to be transparent and introducing custom solutions and lease structures that drive the lowest cost of use for our customers.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: Merrimak Capital Company, LLC
WHAT: A provider of equipment leasing, asset resale services, and fleet management solutions
WHERE: Novato, California