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Ashtead hikes dividend as profits swell

By BFN News | 07:28 AM | Tuesday 19 June, 2018

Equipment hire group Ashtead said Tuesday underlying pre-tax profits rose by 21% in the year through April compared to the previous year, supported by acquisitions and solid growth across its divisions. Fourth-quarter earnings, however, fell slightly and margins for the year contracted. In the 12 months to 30 April, underlying profit before tax rose 21% to £927.3m, group rental revenues rose 21% to £3.42bn and underlying earnings (EBITDA) rose by 19% to £1.73bn. Growth was driven by growth in each of the company's divisions as Sunbelt US, A-Plant and Sunbelt Canada delivered 20%, 13% and 152% rental-only revenue growth respectively. The acquisition of CRS in August 2017 more than doubled the size of the Sunbelt Canada business as revenues grew to C$223m from C$77m the previous year. On a statutory basis, revenues rose 20% at £3.71bn and pre-tax profits nearly doubled to £968.8m from £501.0m . Ashtead proposed a final dividend of 27.5p, taking the total for the year to 33.0p, up 20% from 27.5p a year ago. Capital expenditure for the year was £1,239m gross and £1,081m net of disposal proceeds, slightly higher than the £1,086m gross and £917m net seen last year. 'Looking forward, we anticipate a similar level of capital expenditure in 2018/19 consistent with our strategic plan. So, with all divisions performing well and a strong balance sheet to support our plans, the Board continues to look to the medium term with confidence,' saud Ashtead's chief executive, Geoff Drabble. Story provided by

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