Improved Sunbelt Rentals Results Sparks Ashtead

July 1, 2011
FORT MILL, S.C. Sunbelt Rentals posted $1,224.7 million ($1.2 billion) for fiscal 2011 ended April 30, a 13.3-percent increase compared with $1,080.5

FORT MILL, S.C. — Sunbelt Rentals posted $1,224.7 million ($1.2 billion) for fiscal 2011 ended April 30, a 13.3-percent increase compared with $1,080.5 million for the previous fiscal year. The Ashtead Group, including A-Plant in the U.K., posted a full-year revenue total of £948.5 million (about U.S. $1.53 billion), an 11-percent jump.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Ashtead revenue increased 21 percent from £210.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 to £242.8 million (about U.S. $392.8 million) in the recently concluded quarter.

“We enjoyed an encouraging year where our focus on gaining market share and improving yields resulted in strong growth in Group profits,” said Ashtead chief executive Geoff Drabble. “The performance of Sunbelt in the U.S. was particularly pleasing with good momentum established that has carried into the new financial year with sustainable improvements in both fleet on rent and yield. Against a backdrop of still-challenging end construction markets, we are clearly benefitting from both the structural change in the U.S. rental market and self help from the programs we initiated during the downturn. In the U.K., performance also improved in the second half and we delivered year-on-year profit growth.”

Drabble was cautiously optimistic about the coming year. “We remain cautious over the outlook for end construction markets in the short term, particularly in the U.K.,” he said. “However, we continue to benefit from the structural shift to rental, market share gains and the improvements we have established in all key areas of our business. Together with our balance sheet strength and strong market positions, this makes us confident of another year of good progresses.”

Rental revenue grew 10 percent for Sunbelt, from $989 million in fiscal 2010 to $1,084 million in the just-concluded year. Sunbelt posted a 5-percent increase in average fleet on rent, a 3-percent improvement in yield and a first-time contribution from Empire Scaffold, which the company acquired in January. Total revenue growth was enhanced by higher used equipment sales revenue. A-Plant's total revenue growth was 2 percent, including 1-percent growth in rental revenue to £154 million (about U.S. $249 million).

Sunbelt's fourth-quarter rental revenue growth was 19 percent, reflecting 6-percent growth in fleet on rent, 6-percent yield improvement and the contribution from Empire.

Sunbelt Rentals, based in Fort Mill, S.C., is No. 3 on the RER 100. Ashtead Group is based in London.