Slowing sales growth at tool rental outfit Speedy Hire (SDY) sends shares 2.4% lower to 75p in a falling general market.

UK market leader Speedy grew revenue in its UK and Ireland businesses just 2.6% in the six months to end-March, down from 12.2% growth in its first half.

Analysts at house broker Investec say the turnaround story remains intact, however, citing a bullish outlook statement.

‘We are once in again in a position to deliver sustainable profit growth and our confidence in the future is underpinned by an increase in the recommended final dividend,’ says chairman Jan Astrand.

SPEEDY HIRE7 - Comparison Line Chart (Rebased to first)

Earnings per share (EPS) were zero after exceptional charges on onerous UK property leases and losses on disposal of its soon-to-be discontinued Middle East operations.

Stripping out exceptional items, underlying EPS is 3.2p, up from 2.1p the year before.

Analyst Andrew Gibb at Investec says underlying profit-before-tax at £20.3 million is around 7% ahead of consensus, while underlying EPS is 10% ahead.

‘With the majority of legacy issues now dealt with and the remaining Middle East business in a sale process, the outlook is improving,’ Gibb writes.

Earnings per share for the 2015 calendar year are estimated at 3.8p and 4.3p the year after, according to Gibb’s forecasts.

Issue Date: 12 May 2015