Tools hire group well placed to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions

Russell Down

Speedy Hire reported better turnover figures for the year to March 31, today, but suffered a fall in pre-tax profits.

The Newton-le-Willows-based tool and equipment hire specialist saw revenues rise by three per cent to £406.7m. However, pre-tax profits of £20.7m represented a 27.9% decline on last year’s results.

The group said it has a strong balance sheet and cash generation. Net debt reduced to £79.3m, compared with £89.1m last year.

As previously announced, Geason Training performed below expectations resulting in net exceptional items of £12.2m. Management changes have been implemented to improve performance.

In a trading update for the current fiscal year, Speedy said decisive action has been taken to contain costs and preserve cash following the COVID-19 outbreak and it is well placed to take advantage of opportunities as restrictions are lifted.

It enjoys continued strong cash generation, benefiting from available Government support schemes.

Speedy said at current revenues the group can operate throughout FY21 within its existing banking facilities, without breaching any covenant tests.

The board has decided not to recommend payment of a final dividend for the year. It said it has not fundamentally changed its dividend policy and will consider whether it is appropriate to recommend payment of an interim dividend for the current financial year at the time of the half year results in November.

Chief executive, Russell Down, said: “I am pleased to report continued positive momentum across the group. We have a well invested fleet, diversified customer base and robust balance sheet.

“Our priority remains the welfare of our colleagues, customers and the communities we serve.

“We continue to monitor government guidance and take action to ensure the safety of our colleagues as we continue to operate to satisfy customer demand.

“Whilst COVID-19 will have some financial impact on the business, I am reassured by our performance in the last three months. We are well placed to emerge in a position of strength to pursue our strategic objectives as more normal trading levels return.”