Industrial equipment rental firm Ashtead Group PLC's profits rose in the first quarter of its fiscal year ended April 30, 2019, as rental revenue jumped, with full-year results expected to beat expectations on the back of a weaker sterling.
Profit attributable to equity holders rose to £209.9 million, or 42.8 pence per share, in the three months ended July 31, from £150.0 million, or 30.0 pence per share, in the year-ago period.
Total revenue climbed to £1.05 billion from £880.1 million in the prior-year quarter, led by an increase in rental revenue to £961.0 million from £828.8 million. Operating profit rose to £305.2 million from £256.9 million.
The company decided to increase the level of its share buyback program announced in December 2017 to £125 million per quarter, resulting in a £675 million outlay. It will also extend the program for the financial year 2019-2020, with an anticipated spend of at least £500 million.
Ashtead expects its full-year results to come in ahead of expectations, buoyed by a weaker sterling, and its board expressed confidence in its medium-term outlook.