Source - SMW
Ashtead Group's underlying pre-tax profits rose by 7% to  £793.4m in the year to the end of April.

Group rental revenues were up 13% at £2,901.2m and underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose by 12% to £1,504.4m.

On a statutory basis, revenues were up 10% at £3,186.8m and pre-tas profits rose by 8% to  £765.1m.

The board has proposed a final dividend of 22.75p which would take the total for the year to  27.5p - up 22%.

Chief executive Geoff Drabble said: "The reported results were impacted favourably by weaker sterling but, with 13% growth in group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have good momentum.

"Our end markets remain strong and, most importantly, we continue to see structural change as our customers increasingly rely on the flexibility of rental.  

"We continue to execute well on our strategy to support these changes through a combination of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions.  

"We made significant investments in the year, spending £1.1bn in capital expenditure and £437m on bolt-on acquisitions.  

"In addition, we spent a further £48m on share buybacks in line with our capital allocation priorities.

"Our strong margins ensured that, despite these levels of investment, we remained comfortably within our 1.5 to 2.0 times net debt to EBITDA range.

"Looking forward, our markets remain good and Spring has seen a good seasonal uplift in fleet on rent, with record levels of physical utilisation for this time of year. 

" We expect a similar level of capital expenditure in 2017/18, consistent with our 2021 strategic plan.  

"A number of the investments we made were in the seasonally quieter second half of the year and we incurred one-off costs associated with acquisition and integration.  

"Now that this work is behind us, we anticipate seeing the full benefit of these investments in the coming year.

"Based on our plans we will, once again, see strong free cash flow which will provide us with further flexibility to enhance shareholder value. 

"So, with both divisions performing well and a strong balance sheet to support our plans, the board continues to look to the medium term with confidence."  

At 8:05am: (LON:AHT) Ashtead Group PLC share price was -10.5p at 1630.5p