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Friday 24 May 2019

Hurricane clean-up efforts help Ashtead

The natural disasters are estimated to have boosted the equipment rental company to the tune of 100 million US dollars.

Workers clean up after the devastation of Hurricane Maria (Joel Rouse/MoD Crown Copyright/PA)
Workers clean up after the devastation of Hurricane Maria (Joel Rouse/MoD Crown Copyright/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Equipment rental group Ashtead booked rising annual sales and profits off the back of surging demand in the US for its fleet for the clean-up effort after devastating damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The company – which operates across the UK, US and Canada – saw pre-tax profits jump 16% to £862.1 million in the year to April 30, while sales rose to £3.79 billion from £3.19 billion.

The group said that, while it is difficult to assess the overall revenue impact of the hurricane clean-up, it estimates they boosted the firm to the tune of 100 million US dollars.

However, shares were down more than 6% as the results fell short of market expectations.

Ashtead is the second largest equipment rental business in the US, hiring out diggers and tools for the construction and industrial sectors.

Its Sunbelt business operates across more than 600 locations in the US and in Canada and employs some 10,000 staff.

Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble said: “Our end markets remain strong and are supported by the continued structural changes in our market as customers rely increasingly on rental while we leverage the benefits of scale.

Ashtead Group chief executive Geoff Drabble (Igor Emmerich/Ashtead Group/PA)

“We continue to execute well on our strategy through a combination of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions, investing £1.2 billion by way of capital expenditure and £392 million on bolt-on acquisitions in the year.”

Ashtead added that the weak pound boosted the firm by £140 million in the year.

In the UK, Ashtead is the market leader and has 189 locations nationwide and around 3,500 employees.

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