Plant and equipment hire firm Speedy Hire has reported a boost in profits and revenue in its H1 results, driven by an improvement in the UK market.
Profit before tax grew to £10.3m in the six months to September 2014, up from £4.5m over the same period last year - an increase of 129 per cent.
Group revenues were up by 12.2 per cent over the same period, growing to £189.3m, up from £168.7 in the previous year.
The group’s profit in its UK business was up 11 per cent, compared to a 31.3 per cent increase in its international business - but the UK still represents the company’s key market.
Using its ‘Own City’ campaign to focus on local markets, the company has boosted year-on-year revenues in London and Manchester by 18 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, according to group chief executive Mark Rogerson.
The group will open its new national distribution centre and three new superstores by the end of 2015.
The H1 results represent a rebound in fortunes for Speedy, after the company’s shares dipped over 17 per cent in one day following the discovery of a £5m hole in its accounts, leading to the resignation of former chief executive Steve Corcoran.
Analysts Liberum said that the group’s profit growth was “20 per cent ahead of our expectation”.
“It is only caution over the historic unpredictable nature of the International business which prevents us upgrading our estimates,” said the firm.
Commenting on the results, Mr Rogerson said: “Whilst these results primarily reflect our self-help measures and the delivery of early efficiency improvements, we have also begun to benefit from an improving market environment in the UK, thanks to a focussed and disciplined approach to our strategic accounts and re-engagement with our regional customers.
“While much remains to be done, not least in the Middle East, there are major opportunities ahead as the UK continues with a very significant infrastructure regeneration programme.
“Having stabilised the business, we can now turn our attention to differentiating Speedy through service, quality and innovation, optimising our asset base and delivering sustainable profit growth.
“We are on-track to deliver results for the full year in line with the Board’s expectations and our confidence for the future is underpinned by an increased interim dividend.”