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HSS cuts losses to £4.5m

4 Apr 19 Tool and plant hire chain HSS Hire Group has managed to slash its losses in 2018 after a strategy review.

In 2017 HSS made a pre-tax loss of £85.2m. In 2018 the pre-tax loss was reduced to £4.5m.

Revenue was up 5% to £352.5m (2017: £335.8m).

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) were £71.3m (2017: £48.9m).

The results include the UK Platforms powered access business, which was sold to Nationwide Platforms (part of Loxam) for £47.5m in January 2019. While that business made money for HSS, the sale has enable it to reduce borrowings by £38m.

HSS’ strategy for 2018 has been to reduce borrowings, repair its Tool Hire business and strengthen the company's commercial proposition.  Products lines and pricing have been overhauled.

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Chief executive Steve Ashmore said: "In 2018 we made significant progress against our strategic priorities and delivered the highest adjusted total Ebitda in the group's history.  Over the year we made a series of important strategic and operational changes including the seamless transition to a new distribution model which significantly reduces costs, the successful refinancing of the group giving us long-term stability, and the sale of UK Platforms, allowing us to focus on the Tool Hire business and further reduce debt.

“Alongside these changes we have maintained trading momentum with good underlying revenue growth.  Our increased focus on improving profitability has also proved successful with margins enhanced across both our rental and services segments combined with a material reduction in our cost base.  

“We are now focused on transforming our proposition to take advantage of the fragmented and digitally immature equipment hire market.  This will include creating an end-to-end digital offering in our Tool Hire business and transforming OneCall to ensure a seamless rehire experience.

“While the broader economic outlook remains uncertain, our leaner operating model, excellent market positions and clear strategy leave us well placed to continue to grow market share in any market."

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