In the six months to 31st October 2019 A-Plant generated rental revenue of £187m, down 2% on the previous year (2018: £191m). Total revenue was up 2% to £256m (2018: £251m) because more under-used fleet inventory was sold.
A-Plant’s operating profit for the half-year was down 32% to £30m (2018: £44m) at a margin of 12% (2018: 18%).
Ashtead chief executive Brendan Horgan said that, after a period of sustained growth, the focus now at A-Plant was on operational efficiency and improving returns.
However, thanks to continued growth of Ashtead’s Sunbelt operations in North America, group pre-tax profit for the half-year was up 6% to £660m (2018: £610m) on revenue up 14% to £2,681m (2018: £2,250m).
“Our North American end markets remain strong and we continue to execute well on our strategy of organic growth supplemented by targeted bolt-on acquisitions,” Brendan Horgan said. “In contrast, the UK market remains challenging and we are therefore refocusing A-Plant on leveraging its platform to deliver long-term sustainable results, while generating strong cash flow.”