Ashtead expects US upturn in second half of 2010

By Murray Pollok10 March 2010

Ashtead Group made a pre-tax loss of £14.7 million on revenues of £187.3 million for its third quarter, to January 31. This represents a 28% reduction the same quarter in 2009.

US revenues for Sunbelt Rentals fell by 22% (in local currency) to US$245.2 million in the three months and A-Plant's revenues in the UK were down 21% to £37.2 million.

Ashtead said it expected market conditions to remain difficult throughout much of 2010 because of low demand from construction, although it said it expected the US stimulus money to have an impact in the second half of 2010 and that the UK recovery would lag that of the US.

Ashtead's chief executive, Geoff Drabble, said; ""Whilst market conditions have remained difficult throughout the period, our operational performance has been good relative to both our UK and US peers and we are clearly gaining market share.

"This outperformance, together with the preparatory actions we took a year ago to reduce costs and fleet size, has helped us to protect profitability and deliver continued strong cash generation. Our strong balance sheet will also enable us to ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure and fleet mix in place when cyclical recovery begins."

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