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Weak pound helps Ashtead profits rise 25% to £413m

Construction equipment firm Ashtead has reported a healthy increase in half-year profits, helped by the collapse in the value of the pound.

Ashtead said pre-tax profit rose 25% to £413 million in the six months to October 31 as organic growth and acquisitions also boosted the balance sheet. Revenue rose 22% to £1.55 billion.

Boss Geoff Drabble said: "The underlying performance of the business continues to benefit from a clear and consistent strategy of organic growth supplemented by bolt-on acquisitions.

"The reported results were positively impacted by weaker sterling (£53 million) but this was partially offset by the impact of lower gains on fleet disposals (£14 million) as we reduced our replacement capital expenditure."

Ashtead operates the Sunbelt brand in the US, where it is one of the biggest rental firms.

Mr Drabble said that, because of the impact of "significantly weaker sterling", the group expects full-year results to come in ahead of expectations.

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