This followed a £28.5 million loss which had been recorded for the same period the previous year.
Chief executive Geoff Drabble attributed the positive result to a strong performance across all three of the company’s divisions.
Sunbelt, the firm’s US arm, enjoyed an increase of more than 22 per cent in its operating profits, while its UK division A-Plant experienced a 13 per cent rise.
Ashtead Technology – which rents specialised electronic equipment to the offshore oil and gas sectors – boasted a consecutive period of sound growth, with a 37.3 per cent increase in profits. This followed on from a strong 27 per cent rise the previous year.
Mr Drabble said: “Despite the economic uncertainty, our markets in the US and the UK remain good and our experience on the ground suggests this will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Total revenue for the period was up from £662 million to more than £760 million. Mr Drabble said the firm was optimistic about further growth in 2008.