SPEEDY Hire, the Newton-le-Willows-based plant and tool hire group, registered a return to six month profits today on the back of revenue growth.
Turnover rose from £161.8m last year to £169.1m in the six months to September 30.
pre-tax profits of £4.7m compared with a pre-tax loss last year of £2.3m, which was due to an exceptional charge of £5.1m.
It said its UK business is performing well, despite challenging market conditions, driven by its ongoing focus on core customers and markets, and on “judicious capital investment to support these opportunities”.
Speedy’s overseas operations, mainly in the Middle East, were also profitable, with major contract wins supporting future growth. It said there are “significant opportunities” for the group in these markets.
Chair Ishbel Macpherson said: “We are pleased with the progress made in the first half of the year which clearly illustrates that our consistent strategy is delivering results.
“Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions Speedy has further increased revenue and improved operating margins and returns; continued to implement efficiency initiatives and reduce costs across the business; while still investing to support key customers and areas of growth in both the UK and international divisions.
“The board’s focus remains on generating high quality, secure and transparent earnings across the group, from markets where capital investment is more certain. The balance sheet remains strong and we are improving the overall return on capital employed. The board, therefore, remains confident of Speedy meeting its expectations for the financial year.”
Liverpool stockbroker Panmure Gordon maintained its ‘buy’ stance on Speedy’s shares after today’s results.
Analysts Paul Jones and Mike Allen said: “Results for H1 very much as expected from Speedy Hire, with decent progress despite challenging markets, and cost reductions continuing to drop to the bottom line.
“There remain few signs of improvement from the wider market, though an alignment with larger customers with greater visibility should mean Speedy remains better placed than most when any recovery kicks in.”