Ashtead Group, the investment holding and management company has reported record third quarter pre-tax profits of £21m from a loss of £2m for the same period a year earlier.
The board remains committed to a strategy of strong organic growth and continues to believe it is well positioned to take advantage of current market trends. The group's nine-month EBITDA margin rose to 35% (2011: 31%) with Sunbelt at 37% (2011: 33%). Total revenue growth of 23% at constant rates (20% at actual rates) also included higher used equipment sales revenue of £54m (2011: £37m).
Ashtead therefore now anticipates a full year profit significantly ahead of its earlier expectations. It continues to invest heavily to support its growth. For the fiscal year, it now anticipates spending around £425m or roughly double depreciation on a gross basis whilst, after disposal proceeds, net payments for capital expenditure are expected to be around £325m.
While commenting on the results, Geoff Drabble, Ashtead's chief executive said: "Once again, we are pleased to report a strong set of results. Our record third quarter pre-tax profit of £21m (2011: £2m loss), whilst undoubtedly being helped by favourable weather conditions, is predominantly due to the continuation of the momentum we have established over recent quarters. We continue to invest strongly in organic growth, with our rental fleet now being 11% larger and an average of five months younger than a year ago. However, with a continued focus on margin improvement, this investment has been accompanied by a reduction in net debt to EBITDA leverage to 2.5 times (2011: 2.8 times). The Board remains committed to a strategy of strong organic growth and continues to believe that we are well positioned to take advantage of a continuation of current market trends. We therefore now anticipate a full year profit significantly ahead of our earlier expectations."