Profits up at VP after strong first-half results

By Murray Pollok26 November 2013

Vp's Groundforce division rents shoring and trenching equipment.

Vp's Groundforce division rents shoring and trenching equipment.

Strong performances at its telehandler, tool hire and ground shoring divisions led improved half-yearly results at VP plc, with total revenues up 9% at £91.3 million and operating profits rising by 11.4% to £13.7 million.

A recovery in the UK’s housebuilding sector helped boost UK Fork’s revenues by 20%, with profits up 58%, and has led the company to make “significant” investments in its telehandler fleet.

The Groundcare division – VP’s second largest after tool hire – saw revenues up 14.3% on the back of activities throughout the UK, and in particular in support of the water companies’ AMP5 capital investment programme.

Hire Station, the tool hire business, saw profits up 59%, with the safety equipment division seeing a buoyant first half and the MEP Hire operation for mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades expanding its coverage nationally.

The results are for the six months ending 30 September, the first half of VP’s financial year.

More modest performances were reported by oil and gas rentals business Airpac Bukom, where profits were down 48% on flat revenues, impacted by delays to LNG projects in Asia Pacific and subdued North Sea demand.

Also posting broadly flat performances were VP’s temporary roadways business, TPA, and the rail business Torrent Trackside, which was impacted by a restructuring of procurement policies at Network Rail in advance of its next five year investment plan.

Jeremy Pilkington, chairman of Vp plc, said the results were excellent, “with profits, margins, return on capital and earnings per share all strongly ahead. Substantial capital investment in the rental fleet and the acquisition of Mr Cropper in September demonstrates our confidence in the opportunities for growth.

“With sentiment in certain key sectors of the UK economy improving and with some of the wider structural threats receding, we believe the group is very well placed to continue to deliver further progress for the year as a whole and beyond”.

The company invested £18.3 million in its rental fleet in the six months, 46% more than in the same period last year.

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