Vp looking for another record-breaker of a year

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HARROGATE-BASED equipment hire specialist Vp plc has reported a solid set of results, despite being hit by underperformance in the oil and gas sector.

Revenues for the six months to 30 September reached £105m, up from £101m in the same six-month period in 2014.

Pretax profits also increased to £16.3m up from £15.5m.

In March the company hailed a “record-breaking” year, smashing the £200m turnover barrier and Neil Stothard, managing director of Vp is hopeful for another. He said: “I don’t think we’ve got the same relative buoyancy in the market we had a year ago, so we’re pleased with the half year increase in profits – hopefully this year it could be a record breaker as well.”

Post period, Vp also acquired Liverpool-based safety equipment rental business, Test & Measurement Group, in a £3.65m deal.

Mr Stothard said: “We’ve been working with Test for many years and it became available so we bought it, and we’ll continue to target those type of businesses in the future.”

Despite the “subdued economic background” in 2015, chairman Jeremy Pilkington said that Vp’s results were “very satisfactory” as demand from the company’s other divisions compensated for the decline in their oil and gas sector supplier division Airpac Bukom.

“It was impossible for Airpac to escape” the impact of the plummeting oil prices over the last 12 months, said the listed company. Revenues at Vp’s oil and gas exploration supplier division, Airpac Bukom, were down by 25%.

Mr Stothard said: “We flagged the potential issues with Airpac over a year ago when the oil price halved. We’ve been clear that Airpac was going to find that sector more challenging, and tere’s nothing to say there will be a rapid recovery in the oil price any time soon. The business constitutes 10-12% of the group as a whole, so our exposure is limited.

“It is still an important business for us, and in the longer term the oil and gas sector is a good place to be. We’re competing hard and aggressively for a reduced level of work and continuing to have our share of success in that.”

The company said that their results “once again demonstrated the Group’s ability to deliver good results even when some of our markets are performing at less than full capacity,” and Mr Stothard said: “We’ll continue to develop across all fronts, without relying on any major upwards shift in market.”

Founded in 1954, the Group has six main operating divisions supplying to a diverse range of end markets, including construction, civil engineering, rail, water, oil and gas, outdoor events and housebuilding.