British industrial equipment rental company Ashtead Group Plc. (AHT.L) on Thursday lifted its full year expectations after reporting a profit in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss last year, against the backdrop of challenging end construction markets. The stock is up nearly 6 percent in morning trade.
Ashtead's chief executive Geoff Drabble said, "The momentum we have established, and the flexibility provided by our strong balance sheet, allows us to anticipate further growth with or without end market recovery. As a result, it is likely that our profits in the coming year will be ahead of our previous expectations."
Pre-tax profit was 31.9 million pounds compared to a loss of 19.9 million pounds last year. On an underlying basis, pre-tax profit surged to 25.6 million pounds from 2.7 million pounds.
Profit attributable to equityholders of the company was 23.5 million pounds or 4.6 pence per share compared to a loss of 13.1 million pounds or 2.6 pence per share last year.
Revenue climbed to 287.8 million pounds from 242.8 million pounds.
For the full year, earnings surged to 17.3 pence from 0.2 pence and pre-tax profit climbed to 134.8 million pounds from 1.7 million pounds. Revenue climbed to 1.135 billion pounds from 948.5 million pounds.
The board recommended a final dividend of 2.5 pence per share, compared to last year's 2.07 pence, making 3.5 pence for the year.
AHT.L is currently trading at 265.20 pence, up 5.91 percent, on a volume of 1.29 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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