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Ashtead up

British-American hirer Ashtead has posted group pre-tax profit of £12.3 million in its first quarter to July 31, a 150 per cent rise on the same period last year, thanks to a st rong US market. The group turned over £145.9 million, up 12 per cent on last year. In the UK, subsidiary A-plant posted tu rnover stat ic at £38.8 million and operating prof it up 23 per cent to £3.7 million.