Speedy Hire returns to profit

17 May 2012

Speedy Hire returned to profit for the year ended 31 March 2012 with earning before tax of £12.4 million compared to a loss of £0.7 million in the previous year.

Like for like revenues were up 4.3% to £326.4 million, after accounting for the disposal of the portable accommodation rental business and the expiry of its Network Rail contract. Profitability improved through the year, with second half profits of £7.6 million following the £4.8 million profit reported for the first six months.

Factors in the improved performance included a focus on pricing and on driving utilisation by increasing the availability of fleet. Speedy said unit hire rates were up 6.6% and that improvements to workshop procedures had meant that 77% of equipment not on hire was now available for rent.

Ishbel Macpherson, Speedy's chairman, said the company was benefitting from its strategy of aligning to key market sectors and major customers that are growing, allied to discipline in managing cash and costs; "This has resulted in continued progress for the Group and we have created a solid platform from which to build for the future."

Speedy said the UK economy remained fragile, but that its business was now more diversified than general construction. For example, infrastructure projects in water, waste, energy and transport now account for a quarter of revenues.

It expects the business to "deliver another year of continued progress", despite short term disruption in London during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speedy's international operation, mainly in the Middle East, saw revenues increase from £8.4 million to £11.1 million (excluding intra-group revenues), with an operating loss of £0.7 million.

Gross capital expenditure on fleet was £64.2 million - up from £41.8 million in the previous year - with £10.0 million of that allocated to the Middle East business.

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