Lavendon Group plc, which operates as Nationwide in the UK, reported that its UK rental revenues in the six months to 30th June 2016 increased by 7% to £57.2m (2015: £53.3m) with underlying operating profit increasing by 8% to £9.5m (2015: £8.8m) and margins improving to 15.7% (2015: 15.2%).
Revenue growth, which increased as the year progressed, was driven by winning business from smaller competitors. These gains “more than absorbed a 3% year on year softening in pricing”, the company said.
Moving transport operations – the delivery and collection of machines from customers’ sites – back in-house had generated significant efficiency gains, it said. “These operational efficiency improvements have increased the availability of the UK fleet by almost 5% in the first half, effectively releasing around 500 extra machines for hire.”
The UK accounts for 45% of Lavendon’s group rental revenues. The company as a whole reported a 13% rise in group revenue for the first half to £134.2m (2015: £119.1m) and pre-tax profit up 10% to £15.9m (2015: £14.5m).
Net debt climbed 25% during the six-month period to reach £148.9m.