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16 Sep 2021 | 07:03

Ashtead says results to beat expectations after strong Q1

(Sharecast News) - Ashtead said annual performance would beat its previous expectations as the equipment hire company reported a 53% increase in operating profit for the first quarter. Operating profit fr the three months to the end of July rose to $477m from $311m a year earlier at constant currency as revenue increased 21% to $1.85bn. Statutory pretax profit rose 74% to $416m.

Revenue rose 13% at constant currency from the first quarter two years earlier when trading was unaffected by the pandemic.

Performance was driven by the US where adjusted operating profit jumped to $432.1m from $324.1m a year earlier based on higher volumes and rates. UK profit rose to £44m from £10.4m and Canada contributed $28.2m.

Ashtead said it expected annual rental revenue to increase by 13-16% - up from earlier guidance of 6-9%. The company upgraded guidance for capital spending to $2-2.3bn from $1.9-2.2bn and predicted free cash flow of $900m-1.1bn - up from $800m-1.1bn.

Chief Executive Brendan Horgan said: "Our business is performing well in supportive markets. The benefit we derive from the diversity of our products, services and end markets, our investment in technology and ongoing structural change ... enables the board to look to the future with confidence and we now expect business performance this year to be ahead of our previous expectations."
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