Dec 4 Van rental company Northgate Plc
said profit for the first half of the year fell 13 percent as
its core UK business was hurt by a drop in average vehicles
hired and lower rates.
The company, which began operations in 1981 and rents vans
to engineering, distribution and retail companies, said current
trading was broadly in line with its expectations.
Northgate said underlying pretax profit fell to 28.1 million
pounds ($45.23 million) for the six months ended Oct. 31 from
32.3 million pounds a year earlier.
Revenue fell about 16 percent to 314.5 million pounds.
Revenue from its UK operations, which accounts for more than 60
percent of overall revenue, decreased about 10 percent.
Hire revenue in the UK fell 9.9 percent to 149.1 million
pounds. The company rented out 1400 fewer vehicles during the
period in the UK.
The British company, which operates across the UK, Spain and
the Republic of Ireland, had cut its fleet size to 51,000
vehicles in the UK and 37,700 in Spain as of Oct. 31.
Northgate has been cutting its fleet and selling vehicles to
reduce debt. It said net debt was 343.2 million pounds compared
with 371.3 million pounds in April.
The company said it would pay an interim dividend of 1.3
pence per share.
Shares in the Darlington-based company were trading down
about 3 percent at 258.75 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock