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Speedy Hire upbeat on bigger clients

Strong orders from firms such as Balfour Beatty and Carillion helped push up Speedy Hire’s business from its top 50 contractors by more than half.

The hire giant said revenue from this group had grown 54 per cent in the first quarter, compared with the same April-June period last time.

Chief executive Steve Corcoran said construction activity was being underpinned by infrastructure spending in the public sector and other industries such as water and gas.

The firm, which reported an increased turnover of £465 million at is final results in May, said spending on schools, prisons and defence remained resilient, offsetting a drop in orders from the house building, commercial office and non-retail sectors.

Mr Corcoran said exposure to the housing market was less than five per cent of revenue. Spending from smaller trade customers was also tailing off.

But he said major contractors were still reporting strong workloads while growth in industries such as steel, petro-chemical and nuclear was good.

In an upbeat management statement, the firm’s revenue from its tool hire business was up 46 per cent. This did not include the contribution from its takeover of Hewden Tools last summer. Equipment hire was also on the up, rising by a third on the same period last year.