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Sat November 28 2020

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Speedy rebounds after Covid setbacks

18 Nov Tool and equipment hire chain Speedy Hire appears to have recovered from the difficulties of the first national lockdown in the spring and is trading through the second with no discernible impact.

Speedy has posted its half-year results for the period to 30th September 2020, showing both revenue and profit reduced by the impact of Covid-19 but now back to trading largely as before.

Revenue (excluding disposals) fell 20% to £162.3m (2019: £204.2m), following a reduction in activity levels during the first national lockdown. Including revenue from disposals (unchanged at £1.5m), total revenue for the period was £163.8m (2019: £205.7m).

After absorbing £2.5m of property provisions and £1.6m redundancy costs, Speedy made a pre-tax profit for the half-year of £1.4m (2019 H1: £16.4m).

“Core hire revenues have continued to recover post the first lockdown and in October were within 3.5% of the prior year; asset utilisation has improved and at 31st October was 60.2% (2019: 57.9%),” said chief executive Russell Down.

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The second lockdown was “not materially impacting the group”, he said.

“Our revenues declined initially, falling by 35% in April, but recovered strongly following the first lockdown as existing customers returned to work and we secured new customers. Infrastructure spending has been resilient,” Russell Down said.

He continued: “Our SME customer base has continued to grow, with revenue up 12% on the prior year for September; we are exploring further opportunities to grow in this sector. We have managed our cost base through salary and rent reductions and the use of government schemes, as well as reducing capital expenditure to the level which was necessary to meet customer demand. This has benefited asset utilisation which is now above the prior year level.”

Full year results are expected to be towards the top end of analysts’ expectations, he said, implying an adjusted pre-tax profit for the year nearer £17m than £10m.

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