September 3, 2014 / 6:27 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ashtead raises full-year guidance after profits soar

2 Min Read

(Adds details, CEO quote)

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - British industrial equipment hire group Ashtead raised its full-year guidance on Wednesday after posting a 33 percent rise in first-quarter pretax profits on strong demand from the United States and Britain.

Chief Executive Geoff Drabble said he now anticipated the company's full year results would be ahead of previous expectations and increased its plans for capital expenditure to a range of 825 million pounds to 875 million pounds.

Analysts had expected the company to report an average estimate of 437.78 million pounds in full-year pretax profits, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

The company, which rents everything from small tools to large diggers and water pumps, said pretax profits rose to 120 million pounds ($197.54 million) for the period ending July. 31, compared to 99.5 million for the same period a year earlier.

Ashtead, which makes 85 percent of its revenue from U.S. division Sunbelt, said rental revenue from the division rose 22 percent in the first quarter.

Its British business, A-Plant, also grew by 19 percent.

"As a result of this strong performance, and with a strong balance sheet to support future growth, we now anticipate a full year result ahead of our previous expectations," said Drabble in a statement.

$1 = 0.6075 British Pounds Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; editing by Kate Holton

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