Ashtead says Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will help boost the business with demand already rising

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Ashtead expects hurricane damage to drive demand in the rest of the year (Source: Getty)

Equipment rental group Ashtead has reported increased earnings, profit and revenue for the first quarter of the year.

The figures

On an underlying basis, rental revenue rose 17 per cent to £828.8m in the three months to 31 July, up from £660.8m in the same period of last year.

Operating profit increased 20 per cent to hit £266.5m, compared with £206.6m this time last year, and pre-tax profit was up 21 per cent at £238.5m.

Earnings per share grew 21 per cent, rising from 24.2p to 31.5p.

Why it's interesting

Hurricanes are dominating global headlines at the moment, and while it's mainly bad news, that's not the case for Ashtead. The group's chief executive, Geoff Drabble, said major weather events had "already generated significant activity which will require a major clean-up effort and then a multi-year rebuild programme", and added that it was evident the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma would drive demand. As a result, the group said, it continues to hold a confident outlook for the medium term.

What Ashtead said

"At the end of the quarter both businesses were performing well, in line with expectations and with positive momentum," said Drabble.

"Hurricane season has already generated significant activity which will require a major clean-up effort and then a multi-year rebuild programme. Currently, our efforts are focussed on supporting our colleagues, neighbours and customers and we stand ready to provide further assistance.

"It is too early to attempt to quantify the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma accurately on our business. However, it is evident that it will result in an increase in demand for our fleet and we will provide an update at the end of the second quarter."

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