Speedy Hire saw a rise in profits in the first six months of the year as it focused on keeping costs down while growing revenue in infrastructure markets.
Revenue was £169.1m in the six months to 30 September 2012, up 6.4 per cent on the 2011 sales of £158.9m, as profit before tax rose by £7m to £4.7m (2011: £2.3m loss).
Operating profit, before exceptional items, rose from £8.4m last time to £10.4m.
The previous period had seen £5.1m of exceptional items, including £2.9m in restructuring costs, with the disposal of the accommodation hire assets UK Asset Services, and refinancing costs of £2.2m. There were no exceptionals this time.
The company said a continuing focus on costs and operational efficiencies was “driving improvement in margins”. It continues to consolidate its property network and opened four Superstores. It also reported a £9.9m increase in net book value of hire fleet.
UK and Ireland saw a 4.2 per cent increase in revenue to £160m, mainly in key infrastructure markets of water, waste, energy and transport, together with increasing activity in the industrial and events markets.
The firm said the market is challenging, but with opportunities in “specific new sectors”.
“For example, in the industrial sector Speedy has strengthened and developed its relationships with many of the UK’s leading industrial companies and their contractors, which has resulted in Speedy being involved in a number of shut-downs and outage programmes during the period,” it said.
Chairman Ishbel Macpherson, said: “Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions Speedy has further increased revenue and improved operating margins and returns; continued to implement efficiency initiatives and reduce costs across the business; whilst still investing to support key customers and areas of growth in both the UK and International divisions.”
During the period, Speedy extended the group’s £220m banking facilities by seven months to August 2015. Net debt increased in the period to £82.6m at 30 September 2012 (31 March 2012: £76.3m.
Speedy operates from 268 fixed sites, along with a number of on-site facilities at client locations throughout the UK, Ireland and from an international hub based in the Middle East.