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Lavendon turnover down 13pc in Q1

Equipment hire firm Lavendon Group has said its turnover since 1 January 2010 is down 13 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

In a trading update ahead of Lavendon’s AGM today, the group which rents out powered access equipment said UK turnover is down, but the rate of decline is reducing.

In the UK, turnover for the first three months declined by 12 per cent compared with last year, with the rate of year on year decline reducing each month throughout the quarter.

Lavendon said this trend has been supported by a recovery in demand from smaller, non key-account customers who had borne the brunt of the sharp downturn last year.

By the end of the first quarter volume levels had almost returned to the levels of the prior year, with pricing stabilising.

The group’s borrowing levels remain little changed from the reported year-end position, with net debt at 31 March 2010 of £181.5 million compared to £182.1 million at 31 December 2009.

Turnover in Germany declined by 20 per cent in the first quarter compared to the previous year, on both an actual and constant currency basis.

The combined revenues of France and Belgium declined by 2 per cent in the quarter compared to the previous year.

The firm’s Spanish revenues declined by 21 per cent in the first three months, compared to the prior year.

In the Middle East rental turnover declined by 5 per cent for the quarter.

The trading update said: “Whilst we have yet to recover fully the impact of the adverse weather conditions in the early part of the year, the increased activity levels seen in more recent weeks are encouraging and, the board believes, sustainable.

“Accordingly, the board continues to believe that its expectations for the year as a whole will be achieved.”