TOP NEWS: Rental firm Ashtead confident after strong final quarter

(Alliance News) - Ashtead Group PLC on Tuesday upped its annual payout, after more than doubling ...

Alliance News 15 June, 2021 | 7:45AM
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(Alliance News) - Ashtead Group PLC on Tuesday upped its annual payout, after more than doubling profit in the closing months of its financial year.

The London-based global equipment rental company reported a pretax profit of GBP220 million in the fourth quarter of the year that ended April 30. Revenue during the three-month period jumped 13% annually, or 23% at constant currency, to GBP1.27 billion.

It meant that for all of financial 2021, revenue was down just 0.4% at GBP5.03 billion from GBP5.05 billion the year before, while pretax profit declined 4.8% to GBP936.0 million from GBP982.8 million.

Rental revenue for the year was 2.9% lower at GBP4.47 billion, though it rose 1% at constant currency.

"We returned to growth in the fourth quarter with rental revenue up 15% over last year and up 14% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2018-19, both at constant exchange rates. This completes a year of market outperformance across the business with full year rental revenue up 1% at constant exchange rates," Chief Executive Brendan Horgan said.

"We have shown that our business can perform in both good times and more challenging ones."

The firm proposed a final dividend of 35 pence, taking the year's total to 42.15p, up 3.7% from 40.65p the year before.

Ashtead also noted a record annual free cash flow of GBP1.38 billion, compared to GBP792 million in the year earlier. For the current financial year, it expects free cash flow of between GBP600 million and GBP800 million.

Constant currency rental revenue growth of between 6% and 9% is expected, improved from the 1% growth in financial 2021.

Ashtead added: "Looking forward, the Covid-19 pandemic may continue to contribute to some market uncertainty in the coming months. However, on the back of the vaccination roll-out, we expect all of our end markets to continue to recover well."

Shares in the company were 0.3% lower at 5,070.00p each in London on Tuesday morning.

By Eric Cunha;

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Ashtead Group PLC 3,594.00 GBX 2.80

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