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Ashtead set for hurricane boost as clean-up effort begins

Ashtead said it would see increased demand for equipment hire as US states rebuild after hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Equipment rental group Ashtead has said it is braced for surging demand in the US for its fleet as the mammoth clean-up effort begins after devastating damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

The group – which operates across the UK, US and Canada – said while it was too early to quantify the impact of the recent hurricanes on its business, it would clearly see increased demand in the aftermath of the storms.

Chief executive Geoff Drabble said: “Hurricane season has already generated significant activity which will require a major clean-up effort and then a multi-year rebuild programme.

“Currently, our efforts are focussed on supporting our colleagues, neighbours and customers and we stand ready to provide further assistance.”

St. Martin Huricane Irma

He added: “It is evident that it will result in an increase in demand for our fleet and we will provide an update at the end of second quarter.”

Ashtead is the second largest equipment rental business in the US, hiring out diggers and tools for the construction and industrial sectors.

Its Sunbelt business operates across 646 locations in the US and in Canada and employs 10,610 staff.

In the UK, Ashtead is the market leader and has 189 locations nationwide and 3,546 employees.

The group said the weak pound helped flatter overseas earnings in its first quarter, with underlying pre-tax profits jumping to £238.5 million in the three months to July 31 from £183.6 million a year earlier.

Mr Drabble said: “The reported results were impacted favourably by weaker sterling but, with 17% growth in group rental revenue at constant exchange rates, we have continuing good momentum.”

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