Ashtead sees its profits plunge

Equipment-hire company Ashtead Group posted a 95 per cent fall in full-year profit yesterday as construction markets remained weak, but insisted that the worst was over. For the year ended 30 April, Ashtead reported a pre-tax profit of £5m, before items, compared with £87.4m a year ago, and in the range of analyst expectations. Revenue fell 25 per cent to £836.8m, while operating costs declined 28 per cent to £583.3m.