British industrial equipment rental firm Ashtead Group Plc, parent of US-based Sunbelt Rentals, has reported a higher profit in its first quarter with strong revenue growth. Noting that its strong performance continued in August, and with a strong balance sheet to support future growth, the company now anticipates a full-year result ahead of previous expectations.
The company's pre-tax profit was 117.5 million pounds in the first quarter, compared with 97.4 million pounds last year.
Profit attributable to equity holders of the company rose to 74.7 million pounds from 60.7 million pounds in the prior year. Earnings per share grew 36 percent to 14.8 pence, from 12.0 pence, reported a year ago.
On an underlying basis, pre-tax profit totaled 120.4 million pounds, compared to last year's 99.5 million pounds. Underlying earnings per share improved to 15.3 pence from 12.4 pence a year earlier.
Group EBITDA margin improved to 46 percent from 43 percent a year ago.
Revenue for the three months came in at 457.9 million pounds, 21 percent higher than the prior year's 410.5 million pounds with strong growth in both businesses.
At constant exchange rates, Group rental revenue was up 22 percent this quarter to 417.7 million pounds. Sunbelt segment delivered 22 percent rental revenue growth and A-Plant 19 percent.
Ashtead's Chief Executive Geoff Drabble, said, "Given the momentum evident in the business, we are increasing our full year guidance for capital expenditure to a range of £825m to £875m. While we continue to invest heavily in the business, our strong margins allow us to do this while maintaining our leverage discipline."