Speedy Hire (SDY), the UK's leading tool hire chain, returned to top-line growth in the three months to 30 June after at least 12 months of falling sales.

Improving revenue trends at Speedy were apparent around the time of its full-year results update on 17 May and have continued into June.

In an interview with Shares following full-year results, chief executive Russell Down said performance strengthened towards the end of its financial year, the 12 months to 31 March.

Year-on-year sales declines were in the mid-single digits by the three months to 31 March, compared to a 12.2% dip in the year as a whole.

Now Speedy is reporting 'a positive start to the year with revenues in the first quarter ended 30 June 2016 slightly ahead of the comparable period'.

Speedy, whose customers are in the construction, infrastructure, industrial and manufacturing sectors, is a bellwether for UK economic activity.

And it says there has been no sign of a drop-off in demand in the immediate period after the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

'It is too early to assess with any degree of certainty what impact the EU referendum result will have on the Group's end markets but, to date, there has been no deterioration in trading,' said chief executive Down in a trading update today.

'The Board believes that the Group's strategy and recovery plan provide the platform for full year results to be slightly ahead of the Board's previous expectations.'

Prior to today's update, consensus analyst estimates indicated sales growth of 1.3%, to £333.3 million in the year to 31 March 2017. Underlying earnings per share is forecast at 1.43p, up from 0.89p.

Shares in Speedy trade 5.6% higher at 33p, valuing the business at £172 million.

Issue Date: 13 Jul 2016