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Ashtead Group's fiscal Q1 profit rises YOY on higher rental revenue

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.