Ashtead Group, a leading equipment-rental company based in London, announced that its pretax profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2024 increased to $584.6 million, compared to $526.8 million the previous year. This growth was fueled primarily by robust North American markets, with the U.S. and Canadian segments reporting profit margins of 29.9% and 21.8% respectively.

When excluding exceptional and one-off items, underlying pretax profit for the quarter ending July 31 reached $614.9 million, up from $554.7 million in the previous year. The company also saw a substantial rise in revenue, with total revenue reaching $2.70 billion, up from $2.26 billion. Rental revenue increased by 14% to $2.38 billion, driven by strong performance in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

In terms of geographic breakdown, U.S. revenue rose by 22% to $2.31 billion, Canadian revenue grew by 16.5% to $159.7 million, and U.K. revenue saw a modest 1% increase to $225.0 million.

Despite a softening of market conditions in the U.K., Ashtead Group remains optimistic about its overall performance, citing its clear momentum in robust North American markets. The company expects to meet internal expectations and capitalize on opportunities arising from market conditions and ongoing structural changes.

Looking ahead, Ashtead Group reaffirmed its rental revenue guidance for the full year, with an overall group guidance of 13%-16%. The company retained its U.S. and Canada guidance of 13-16% and 15-20% respectively but adjusted its U.K. rental revenue guidance to 6-9%, down from 10-13%.

"We are in a position of strength, with operational flexibility and financial capacity to capitalize on opportunities arising from these market conditions and ongoing structural change," stated the company.

Shares of Ashtead Group were down 4.9% at 5,202.0 pence as of 0725 GMT.

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