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Sunbelt Rentals pumps on a bypass project
Sunbelt Rentals pumps on a bypass project.

Sunbelt Rentals Posts Blockbuster First Fiscal Quarter

Sunbelt Rentals reported fiscal 2017 first quarter revenue of $982.8 million compared to $853.1 million for the same period a year ago, a 15.2-percent boost. The fiscal first quarter ended July 31. EBITDA for the quarter was $503.4 million compared to 428.9 million a year ago, a 17.4-percent increase, while operating profit jumped from $268.9 million to $319.7 million, an 18.9-percent hike.

Rental revenue for Ashtead plc, including sister company A-Plant in the United Kingdom, was £828.8 million (about U.S. $1.1 billion) for the first quarter compared to £660.8 million for the fiscal first quarter of 2016, a 25.4-percent leap.

“I am delighted to be able to report another strong quarter for Ashtead with group rental revenue increasing 25 percent and underlying pre-tax profit increasing by 30 percent to £238 million,” said Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble. “The reported results were impacted favorably by weaker sterling but, with 17 percent growth in group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have continuing 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 quarter, spending £377 million on capital expenditure and £116 million on bolt-on acquisitions.”

Drabble added that strong margins ensured that despite these levels of investment, the company remains within its target range for net debt to EBITDA of 1.5 to 2 times.

“At the end of the quarter both businesses were performing well, in line with expectations and with positive momentum,” Drabble said. “Hurricane season has already generated significant activity which will require a major clean-up effort and then a multi-year rebuild program. Currently our efforts are focused on supporting our colleagues, neighbors 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 businesses. 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 Q2. Looking forward, as a minimum, we expect that the impact will help to underpin the current market assumptions in our 2021 plan and therefore the board continues to look to the medium term with confidence.”

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

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