Revenues rise at Ashtead Group

By Sarah McCay04 September 2014

UK-headquartered rental company Ashtead Group continued to see fortunes improve in its unaudited first quarter figures, ended July 31, 2014, which showed strong gains in revenue, earnings and profit.

Ashtead, which is parent company to A-Plant and Sunbelt, posted rental revenue of £417.7 million (€528 million) for the first half of 2014, up 22% on 2013’s figure of £373.2 million (€470 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) sat at £209.9 million (€265 million), up 30% on £176.7 million (€223 million) for the first half of 2013.

Operating profit for the group hit £133.5 million (€168 million), up 33% on 2013’s figure of £110.4 million (€140 million).

Ashtead said that A-Plant continued to perform well and delivered total rental revenue of £72 million (€91 million), up 19% on the prior year figure of £61 million (€77 million). This reflected 9% more fleet on rent and a 9% improvement in yield.

US-based Sunbelt posted equally strong results, with an operating profit of US$ 207 million (€160 million) versus US$ 161 million (€124 million) in 2013.

Ashtead’s chief executive, Geoff Drabble, said: We are pleased to report another strong quarter as we continue to capitalise on recovering markets and take further market share in both Sunbelt and A-Plant.

"Sunbelt delivered 22% rental revenue growth and A-Plant 19%, which, together with a focus on operational efficiency, helped to deliver record underlying pre-tax profits of £120 million (€152 million).

Mr Drabble said the company invested £284 million (€360 million) in capital expenditure and a further £32 million (€40 million) on bolt-on acquisitions in the quarter.

"Given the momentum evident in the business, we are increasing our full year guidance for capital expenditure to a range of £825 million (€1 billion) to £875 million (€1.1 billion). While we continue to invest heavily in the business, our strong margins allow us to do this while maintaining our leverage discipline," he said.

Mr Drabble also added that the company expected its full-year result to be ahead of its previous expectations.

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