Source - Alliance News

Ashtead Group PLC on Tuesday reported growth in first-half earnings and said demand in North America is strong, despite it cutting guidance last month after being hurt by actors’ and writers’ strikes.

The London-based industrial equipment rental company said in the six months to October 31, pretax profit grew 5.0% to $1.25 billion from $1.19 billion the year before, as revenue rose 16% to $5.57 billion from $4.80 billion a year prior.

Rental revenue grew 13% to $4.96 billion from $4.38 billion the year prior.

The company said it was a record first-half outturn helped by ‘robust end markets’.

Ashtead upped its interim dividend by 5% to 15.75 US cents per share from 15 cents.

Ashtead last month said revenue late in the second quarter and into the third was hit by lower emergency response activity, due to a quieter hurricane season and fewer naturally occurring events like wildfires. Also, in both quarters, its Film & TV business was impacted by the recent actors’ and writers’ strikes.

Ashtead consequently revised its full-year guidance downwards last month. It now expects group and US rental growth between 11% and 13%, compared to prior guidance of 13% to 16%.

Looking ahead, Chief Executive Brendan Horgan said: ‘The group continues to perform strongly with revenue up 16% and rental revenue growth of 13%, both at constant currency,’ adding its North America end markets ‘remain robust with healthy demand.’

Shares in Ashtead were down 3.9% at 4,728.00 pence each in London on Tuesday morning.

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