Sunbelt Rentals posted $913.2 million in revenue for the fiscal first half of 2012 ended Oct. 31, compared to $775.8 million for the same period a year ago, a 17.7-percent increase. EBITDA increased 33.2 percent to $394.8 million, compared with $296.2 million a year ago, while operating profit jumped 46.4 percent to $254.1 million, compared with $173.5 million in the year-ago period.
Sunbelt’s EBITDA margin was 43 percent resulting from the high “drop through” of rental revenue to profit. Sunbelt Rentals’ rental revenue grew 17 percent from $694 million in the first half last year to $811 million this year. In the U.K., A-Plant, Sunbelt’s sister company grew rental revenue 8 percent to £92 million (about U.S. $148.4 million).
“Strong revenue growth and ongoing operational efficiency have delivered record first half pre-tax profits of £141 million,” said Geoff Drabble, chief executive of parent company Ashtead plc. “With this momentum clearly established in the business we now anticipate a full year profit ahead of our earlier expectations. Beyond the current financial year we remain well-placed to see growth over the medium term from either continued structural change or end-market recovery. We are also generating high margins which, together with our much larger and younger fleet, results in an ability to fund significant growth whilst continuing to reduce leverage.”
Sunbelt Rentals’ fleet size as of Oct. 31 was $2.7 billion, the company said. The larger fleet supported strong fleet on rent growth of 10 percent year over year. Utilization improved throughout the period, with average first-half physical utilization of 72 percent. Sunbelt’s pre-tax return on investment in the 12 months to Oct. 31 improved to 16.4 percent, compared to 12 percent for the same period a year ago.
Sunbelt’s strong performance continued into November, the company said, as a revenue boost caused by Hurricane Sandy caused a 26-percent year-over-year increase for the month.
Sunbelt posted £301.5 million in revenue in the fiscal second quarter (about U.S. $485.9 million) a 16.3 percent year-over-year jump. Total Ashtead revenue grew 17 percent for the first half, combining Sunbelt and A-Plant to £680.4 million, compared with £575.5 million a year ago.
Based in Fort Mill, S.C., Sunbelt Rentals is the second-largest rental company in North America.