Sunbelt Parent Ashtead Reports First-Half Profits Up 66% from Last Year

British equipment hire group Ashtead, which makes 85 percent of its revenue from U.S. division Sunbelt, posted record first-half profit as U.S. construction firms, struggling to secure credit to buy expensive diggers and tools, rented them instead.

The company said it had seen a modest pickup in the U.S. construction market in the last quarter.

However, the need to reduce the country's deficit remains a concern for customers and the firm said that even if the market did recover more strongly, there were signs of lasting switch towards renting equipment rather than buying it.

For more about Ashtead's third quarter results...