SURREY, England — British rental giant Ashtead plc, after a major financial overhaul, is once again profitable, according to recent United Kingdom press reports.
Pre-tax profits before exceptional items of about U.S. $14.1 million were far higher than the roughly $1.8 million analysts predicted for it. The company said the figure would have been 33 percent higher were it not for the currency swings in the United States. Shares of Ashtead stock surged 14 percent with the news.
Ashtead's debts had grown to about U.S. $1.2 billion in the years following its acquisition of U.S. rental chain BET Rentals, owned by the U.K.-based Rentokil.
To ensure its survival earlier this year, Ashtead secured an extension to its banking facilities to September 2007 and carried out a bond issue.
Ashtead CEO Burnett said the company was now cash flow positive, enabling it to generate enough money to run the business without adding to its debt.
Economic recovery in the U.S. has contributed to Ashtead's improving economic situation. Revenues from Sunbelt Rentals have risen 10.9 percent in the past two months.