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A-Plant gains from sales restructure

A-Plant, the UK's third largest equipment rental company, has pushed up profits by 22 per cent following a successful restructure of the business.

The company, which hires more than 95,000 power tools, excavators,

accommodation units and traffic management systems from 193 outlets across the country, increased operating profits to £13.9 million from £11.3 million, Margins increased from 7.3 to 8.6 per cent.

The company said: 'The successful restructuring of A-Plant's sales force undertaken in the first half contributed to a significantly improved performance in the second half of the year and a particularly strong fourth quarter.'

Turnover was up to £160.7 million from £156.3 million last year.

A-Plant is part of the Ashtead group, which also owns US company Sunbelt Rentals. Sunbelt continues to gain market share in the US and helped treble Ashstead's pre-tax profits for the year to April to £81.7 million from £32.2 million last time. Turnover was up 19 per cent to £638 million from £523.7 million.

Ashtead has also announced the retirement of chief executive George Burnett, who is 60 in September. He co-founded Ashtead in 1984 when he and a fellow investor bought what was then a five branch business in the south-east of England with turnover of £1 million.

He will be succeeded by Geoff Drabble, currently an executive director of

The Laird Group where he is responsible for its building products division.

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