Ashtead optimistic on future

Industrial equipment rental firm Ashtead yesterday said it was optimistic of meeting analysts&rsquo; expectations of &pound;12.5m pre-tax profits for the full year &ndash; despite posting a 77 per cent drop in profits. Chief executive Geoff Drabble said the group was over the worst of the downturn, and it would not have to launch rescue refinancing unlike its peers. Drabble added he could see the US market recovering quicker than the UK. Due to an acquisition in 2006 Ashtead generates 80 per cent&nbsp; of its profits in the US and just 20 per cent in the UK. <br />