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Speedy back in growth mode

17 Nov 10 The UK hire market is definitely improving, according to loss-making Speedy Hire, which despite continuing losses has reported its third consecutive quarter of incremental growth this year.

Speedy’s revenues for the six months to 30 September 2010 were down 4.1% to £177.3m, compared to the same period in 2009. However, in the three months to 30 Sept 2010, the volume of kit on hire rose 5.4% over the previous quarter, with average hire rates up 2.8% in the same period.

The improvement was not enough to prevent pre-tax losses for the half-year growing to £13.8m.

Before tax, amortisation and exceptional costs, the loss was £9.9m, double the 2009 first-half loss of £4.8m.

Speedy chairman David Wallis said: "UK revenues, average hire rates and volume trends are now showing progressive improvement. Although market conditions remain challenging, with our strong balance sheet, market leading position and closer alignment with growth markets, the business continues to be well placed both to benefit from the actions taken to reduce operating costs and to capitalise on market recovery. In particular, the group's on-site facilities on the Olympics project, recent contract wins in construction and non-construction markets, growing international presence and developing non-hire activities provide grounds for confidence for the future, especially as these are now supported from a more efficient operating base."

After serving more than10 years on the board of Speedy, most of it as chairman, David Wallis retires on 31 December.  Ishbel Macpherson, Speedy's senior independent director, who joined the board in 2007, will succeed him as chairman.

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