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Specialty rentals such as this pump application remains an important segment of Sunbelt Rentals39 growth
Specialty rentals, such as this pump application, remains an important segment of Sunbelt Rentals' growth.

Sunbelt Rentals Increases Fiscal First Half Revenue 16.7 Percent

Sunbelt Rentals posted total revenue of $2,084.5 million for the first half of Ashtead plc’s fiscal year, compared to $1,786.8 million for the first half of fiscal 2016, a 16.7-percent boost. EBITDA for the period, ended Oct. 31, jumped from $912.4 million a year ago to $1,076.6 million for the just-concluded quarter, an 18-percent leap. Operating profit increased from $441 million in H116 to $702.9 million, an 18.8-percent hike.

For the total group, including U.K.’s A-Plant, total fiscal first half revenue was £1,899.1 million (about U.S. $2.536 billion) compared to £1,551.7 million a year ago, a 22.3-percent increase. EBITDA leapt from £757.4 million to £933.7, a 23.2-percent hike.

For the second fiscal quarter, Ashtead’s rental revenue was £945.2 million compared to £783.8 million a year ago, a 20.6-percent boost. For the fiscal first half, rental revenue for the group was £1,774 million, compared to £1,444.6 million in the year-ago half, a 22.8-percent jump.

“The strong quarter was pleasing as it was based on good underlying performance, supplemented by clean-up efforts following hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria,” said Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble. “As a result, group rental revenue increased 23 percent for the six months and underlying pre-tax profit increased by 26 percent to £537 million. The reported results were impacted favorably by weaker sterling but, with 20-percent growth in group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have good momentum.

“Our end markets remain strong and a wide range of metrics have shown consistent improvement. We continue to execute well on our strategy through a combination of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions. We made significant investments in the period, spending £708 million on capital expenditure and £298 million on nine acquisitions.”

Ashtead officials said the group’s strategy will remain unchanged with growth being driven by strong same-store growth supplemented by greenfield openings and bolt-on acquisitions, transferring fleet between locations to optimize its network.

Sunbelt U.S., A-Plant and Sunbelt Canada delivered 18 percent, 20 percent and 119-percent rental only revenue growth respectively. Sunbelt added 32 new stories in the fiscal first half, about half of which were specialty locations. The growth was driven by increased fleet on rent, partially offset by yield. During the fiscal second quarter, Sunbelt was actively involved in clean-up efforts following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, estimating that these events resulted in incremental rental revenue of $40 million to $45 million. Following the significant initial restoration and remediation wok, the company expects a lower impact throughout the second half of the year. The company said average first-half physical utilization was 74 percent, while Sunbelt U.S.’ total revenue, including new and used equipment sales, merchandise and consumable sales, increased 17 percent.

Sunbelt Rentals, No. 2 on the RER 100, is headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C. Ashtead plc is based in London.

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