Belfast Telegraph

Construction equipment firm Ashtead builds 24% on profits to hit £645m

Ashtead has reported a 24% increase in full year pre-tax profits to £645 million, driven by growth and acquisitions.

The construction equipment firm said rental revenue grew 17% and it invested £1.2 billion into the business over the year.

Chief executive Geoff Drabble told the Press Association that Brexit would not affect the firm.

He said: "There's a lot of noise around the referendum. In the residential sector there has been some slowing over the last few months, but the longer term projects like Crossrail haven't been affected. 85% of our business is in the US so we won't be affected either way."

Mr Drabble added that Ashtead has benefited from people choosing to rent rather than own equipment.

The company also announced a proposed 48% increase in its full year dividend to 22.5p and a share buyback of up to £200 million.

Andrew Farnell, analyst at Morgan Stanley, said: " The 2015/16 financial year was considered a success for Ashtead and despite challenging markets, the group continues to execute on the strategy to enhance the geographic footprint and increase the breadth o f the markets served."