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Ashtead Group

Ashtead Group plc Strong quarter with good performance across the Group

Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT), today announced unaudited results for the nine months and third quarter ended 31 January 2019

Nine month highlights

· Revenue up 19%1; rental revenue up 18%1

· Pre-tax profit2 of £888m (2018: £742m)

· Earnings per share2 up 34%1 to 138.9p (2018: 102.4p)

· Post-tax profit4 of £642m (2018: £869m)

· £1,290m of capital invested in the business (2018: £859m)

· £491m spent on bolt-on acquisitions (2018: £315m)

· Net debt to EBITDA leverage1 of 1.8 times (2018: 1.6 times)

· Refinanced debt facilities enhance financial strength and flexibility

1 Calculated at constant exchange rates applying current period exchange rates.

2 Underlying results are stated before exceptional items and intangible amortisation.

3 Throughout this announcement we refer to a number of alternative performance measures which are defined in the Glossary on page 32.

4 Prior year profit after tax and earnings per share figures include a one-off benefit from the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Ashtead’s chief executive, Geoff Drabble, commented:

“The Group delivered a strong quarter with good performance across the Group. As a result, Group rental revenue increased 18% for the nine months and underlying pre-tax profit increased 18% to £888m, both at constant exchange rates.

We continue to experience strong end markets in North America and are executing well on our strategy of organic growth supplemented by targeted bolt-on acquisitions. We invested £1,290m in capital and a further £491m on bolt-on acquisitions in the period which has added 112 locations and resulted in rental fleet growth of 18%. This investment reflects the structural growth opportunity that we continue to see in the business as we broaden our product offering and geographic reach, and increase market share.

Reflecting this opportunity for profitable growth, we expect capital expenditure for the year to be towards the upper end of our previous guidance (c. £1.6bn). Looking forward to 2019/20, we anticipate a similar level of capital expenditure to this year as we execute on our strategic plan through to 2021.

Whilst these are significant investments we remain focused on responsible growth so, after spending £550m to date on our share buyback programme, we have maintained net debt to EBITDA leverage at 1.8 times. Therefore we remain well within our target range of 1.5 to 2.0 times reflecting the strength of our margins and free cash flow.

Our business continues to perform well in supportive end markets. Accordingly, we expect full year results to be in line with our expectations and the Board continues to look to the medium term with confidence.”