Ashtead Group chief executive Geoff Drabble praised the performance of both its subsidiaries as the rental specialist announced record pre-tax third quarter profits.

The UK-based company finished the nine months to 31 January with a surplus of £379 million (€523 million). Of that, Sunbelt Rentals in the US was responsible for £397 million (€547 million) and the British firm A-Plant contributed £38 million (€52 million) before financing costs were taken into account.

Mr Drabble said: “It’s pleasing to be able to report another strong quarter, with underlying pre-tax profits up 33% on the previous year.

“Strong contributions came from both Sunbelt and A-Plant, with rental revenue growth of 25% and 18% respectively.”

Mr Drabble also said the group would continue with its capital expenditure programme - which he believes could now exceed the £975 million (€1.35 billion) originally projected for the 2014/15 financial year.

For 2015/16, Ashtead expects rental fleet percentage growth in the mid-teens, with expenditure of £1 billion to £1.1 billion (€1.38 billion to €1.52 billion).

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