UK-based Ashtead Group has announced its financial year first-quarter results, revealing a 17% year-on-year increase in its rental revenues, to £828.8 million (€914.40 million).

Ashtead group

The company said that strong growth to both its companies – A-Plant and Sunbelt – made for a successful quarter, along with a weaker sterling.

Demand for equipment is likely to continue rising during the second quarter, as a result of Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma.

Ashtead’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in the first quarter was £431.1 million (€475.47 million) for the quarter, representing an increase of 18% year-on-year.

Ashtead’s CEO, Geoff Drabble, said, “ The reported results were impacted favourably by weaker sterling but, with 17% growth in group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have continuing good momentum.

Ashtead Group chief executive Geoff Drabble.

Ashtead Group chief executive Geoff Drabble.

“Our end markets remain strong and a wide range of metrics have shown consistent improvement. We continue to execute well on our strategy through a combination of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions.”

Drabble added that the company made significant investments during the quarter, spending £377 million (€415.80 million) on capital expenditure and £116 million (€127.94 million) on bolt-on acquisitions.

He also added that the impact of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma would impact on its business, with the demand for equipment rental likely to rise. Drabble said it was too early, however, to accurately quantify the impact of this, and added the company would be better placed to make a statement at the end of the second quarter.

Ashtead’s US operations, Sunbelt, saw a revenues increase of 15.2% during the quarter, to US$982.8 million (€821.09 million), while its EBITDA was recorded at US$503.4 million (€420.57 million), an increase of 17.3%.

Meanwhile, its UK operations, A-Plant, saw its revenues increase 23.2%, to £118.8 million (€131 million), while its EBITDA also grew 22.8% to £44.7 million (€49.30 million).

Ashtead said its strategy moving forward would not change, with growth being driven by strong same-store growth, supplemented by greenfield openings and bolt-on acquisition.

The company has added 20 new locations in the US during the quarter, half of which are said to be specialty locations.

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