Ashtead Group, the owner of UK rental company A-Plant and US-based Sunbelt, has reported a strong start to its financial year with rental revenues up 12% year-on-year for the first quarter to £661 million (€783 million).

Overall revenues grew 4% year-on-year for the three months ended 31 July, 2016, to £707 million (€838 million), while gross profit also grew 4% to £178 million (€211 million).

Sunbelt’s revenues increased to £611 million (€724 million) for the first quarter, compared to £529 million (€627 million) for the same period in 2015, while revenues for A-Plant increased to £96.4 million (€114 million) from £90 million (€107 million) a year ago.

Ashtead said overall, revenue growth had been slowed thanks to a lower level of used equipment sales due to lower replacement capital expenditure. It said this had been broadly offset by the benefit from weaker Sterling.

Capital expenditure for the quarter was £328 million (€389 million) gross of disposal proceeds, down from the first quarter 2015 figure of £349 million (€414 million).

Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble said, “The underlying performance of the business continues to benefit from a clear and consistent strategy of organic growth supplemented by bolt -on acquisitions.

“In the quarter, the reported results were positively impacted by weaker sterling but this was broadly balanced by the impact of lower gains on fleet disposals as we reduced our replacement capital expenditure.”

He added that the company expected full-year results to be ahead of its expectations, with the board looking to the medium-term with confidence.

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