US actress on strike in Hollywood
Ashtead’s film and TV business hit by Hollywood strike / Image source: Adobe
  • Jefferies analysts keep FY2024 outlook unchanged
  • Fall in UK revenue to £177 million
  • Hollywood actors' strike impacts upon Canada

Shares in Ashtead (AHT) fell over 5% to £51.84 in morning trading despite the construction equipment rental group reporting an 11% rise in adjusted pre-tax profits to $615 million for the first quarter ending 31 July 2023.

Adjusted earnings per share increased by 14% to 107.5 cents compared to 94 cents in the same period a year ago.

The share price decline could be attributed to a fall in UK revenue to £177 million in 2023 compared to £181.8 million last year and the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strike which had a ‘significant impact’ on the performance of its film and TV business with some impact on the Canadian business.

Rental revenue increased 15% in Canada to C$183 million compared to C$159 million last year – with total revenue of C$213 million compared to C$176 million last year.

The UK business generated rental revenue of £120 million, up only 15% on the prior year excluding the impact of the work for the Department of Health which ended during the first quarter of last year.

Ashtead generates around 85% of its sales and 90% of its profits from its American Sunbelt operation, with the bulk of the rest coming from Canada and the A-Plant business in the UK.


Shares in Ashtead have risen nearly 20% over the past year but have still failed to recapture their 2021 peak.

There was however some good news from Ashtead with the tool hire operation investing $1.13 billion of capital back in the business (compared to $699 million last year) and spending $361 million on nine bolt-on acquisitions.

In the US, rental revenue was 16% higher at $1.6 billion ‘representing continued market outperformance’ and the group’s ‘strategy of growing its specialty businesses and broadening its end markets.’


Analysts at Jefferies have kept their outlook for the group ‘unchanged’ for full year 2024, however: ‘UK rental growth is trimmed to 6-9% (from 10-13%). Outlook highlights continued strong operational performance and upgraded revenue growth expected to be offset by higher international costs.’


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Issue Date: 05 Sep 2023