Ashtead Group Increases Profits by 76%


LONDON -- Ashtead Group (ISE: AHT.L) , the second largest equipment rental company in both the U.K. and U.S., this morning announced a pre-tax profits increase of 82% in actual terms, or 76% at constant rates, in its Q1 underlying results.

That resulted in a figure of £61.4 million, up from £33.8 million at the same stage last year. Revenue was up to £325 million from £268.6 million, an 18% jump at constant rates, while EBITDA rose 34% to £129.3 million from £93.9 million.

Chief executive Geoff Drabble said:

We are delighted with this record performance as we continue to benefit from the trends established in the business over a number of quarters. The markets in which we operate have performed as anticipated with gently improving conditions in the U.S. and a more challenging outlook in the U.K. We do not anticipate any significant changes to this environment in the short term.

Against this back-drop our continued market share gains are again reflected in our strong growth in fleet on rent and improving margins demonstrate our operational efficiency. Given the momentum established in the business, we now anticipate a full year result materially ahead of our previous expectations.

As a result, shares are up this morning over 11%, or 33 pence, at the time of writing to 315.50 pence, following the market's close of 282.50 pence.

Seasonally stronger in the summer months, the company was able to refinance the terms of its long-term debt, which led to lower costs and longer maturities.

Ashtead recognizes that its business is "subject to significant fluctuations in performance from quarter to quarter as a result of seasonal effects," while the majority of its operations are denominated in U.S. dollars so are therefore performances that are exposed to any fluctuations in the value and exchange rate with pound sterling.

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