Group rental revenue up 18%1
First half pre-tax profit2 of £343m, up 21% at constant exchange rates
£696m of capital invested in the business (2014: £588m) and full year guidance increased
Group RoI of 19% (2014: 19%)
Net debt to EBITDA leverage1 of 1.9 times (2014: 2.0 times)
Interim dividend raised 33% to 4.0p per share (2014: 3.0p)
Ashtead's chief executive, Geoff Drabble, commented:
"I am pleased to be able to report another strong quarter resulting in underlying pre-tax profits of £343m for the six months, up 21% at constant exchange rates on the prior year. Even with significant levels of investment, we continue to grow responsibly, generating strong returns and maintaining leverage within our stated objectives. Group RoI was a healthy 19% and our leverage reduced to 1.9 times EBITDA.
We continue to execute on our strategy to diversify the markets we serve, both in terms of geography and sector. Sunbelt's 22% rental only revenue growth demonstrates clearly the benefits of this strategy and the overall health of our broader markets. We invested £696m in capital expenditure and opened 38 new locations in the US. Given the profitable growth opportunities evident in our markets, we are increasing our full year guidance for capital expenditure to c. £1.1bn.
With both divisions performing well, strong end markets and our strategy clearly working, we now anticipate a full year result ahead of our previous expectations and the Board looks forward to the medium term with confidence."