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Ashtead stays confident

8 March 2022

Ashtead stays confident

Ashtead Group, the parent of Sunbelt Rentals which operates in the US, Canada and the UK, has maintained its strong performance in its results announced today for the third quarter ended 31 January 2022, with rental revenue up 21% in the nine months over the Covid affected prior year and up 17% when compared with 2019/20 across all its territories.

The group is also confident that the imminent ending of many Government contracts awarded in supporting the UK’s Covid-19 response will not unduly impact the business. 

During the quarter, the UK business generated rental only revenue of £98m (2021: £93m), 6% higher than the prior year, while total revenue increased 4% to £179m (2021: £172m). Excluding the impact of the Department of Health work, rental only revenue was up 10% over the prior year.

Looking at trading results for the nine-month period, the UK business generated rental only revenue of £301m, up 14% on the prior year (2021: £265m). 

Total revenue increased 23% to £547m (2021: £444m) reflecting the higher level of ancillary and sales revenue associated with the work supporting  the Department of Health in its Covid-19 response efforts, which accounted for approximately 32% of UK revenue in the nine months. 

Following the UK government’s announcement that free mass Covid testing will stop from April 2022, the group expects the majority of this revenue to effectively cease at this time.

Ashtead states that, while the UK business continued to benefit from these Government contracts, its core business is performing strongly and benefiting from on-going operational improvements.

Indeed, it will be fascinating to see how Sunbelt Rentals re-focuses its UK operations as the post-pandemic world evolves. 

Brendan Horgan, Ashtead’s chief executive, said: “Our business continues to perform strongly and is well positioned to manage and benefit from the unique market circumstances we face, including supply chain constraints, inflation and labour scarcity, which we believe to be drivers of ongoing structural change. We now expect full year results to be slightly ahead of our previous expectations and the Board looks to the future with confidence.” 

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