Northgate warns trading at lower end of market expectations

March 14 Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:02am EDT

March 14 (Reuters) - Van rental company Northgate Plc warned its business for the year ending April was trading towards the lower end of market expectations as economic turmoil in Spain and difficult conditions in the UK meant the company rented out fewer vehicles.

The company, which began operations in 1981 and rents vans out to engineering, distribution and retail companies, said vehicles on hire in its core UK market had fallen to 44,200 units at Feb. 28 from 45,000 at the end of October.

Vehicles on hire in Spain also fell by 800 units from the end of October to 31,900 at Feb. 28.

The declines were still smaller than the same period last year when the company rented out nearly 4,000 fewer vehicles in the UK and over 5,000 fewer vehicles in Spain.

Shares in the Darlington-based company, which operates across the UK, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, closed at 350 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. The stock has gained 13 percent so far this year.

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