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Vp's specialists drive up results

PLANT - Hirer's turnover hits £45.6 million despite tool hire loss

SPECIALIST equipment hirer Vp has posted an 11 per cent rise in turnover to £45.6 million and 15 per cent rise in pretax profit to £4.9 million, despite losses at its core tool business.

The Hire Station tool division recorded an operating loss of £0.3 million and a drop in turnover of 7 per cent as it continued restructuring its business.

Managing director Neil Stothard said: 'We have now got our house in order and in the last two months the tool business has been more outward looking and winning awards.

The business was bailed out by its shoring and rail equipment divisions, which both recorded double-digit growth.

The star in Vp's firmament was the Groundforce shoring operation, where turnover soared 51 per cent to £12.7 million.

Operating profit rose 26 per cent to £21.8 million on the back of demand for both its core excavation support business and its specialist services.

Following a series of acquisitions last year, Groundforce includes businesses from pile breaking to pipe integrity testing to water flow measurement.

Another big success was the Torrent Trackside rail business, which continued to increase its turnover, with a 23 per cent rise to £6.9 million.

It also lifted profit 25 per cent in the face of margin pressure.

Meanwhile the UK forks telehandler hire business recorded more gradual progress, with turnover rising 3 per cent to £6.4 million and operating profit static at £800,000.

Mr Stothard said: 'We have a good spread of markets and we have grown without recourse to borrowing - prospects are good.'