SURREY, England — Ashtead Group PLC, the United Kingdom-based parent company of Sunbelt Rentals, announced last month that its losses narrowed on the strength of increased customer demand in the United States. The net loss in Ashtead's fiscal third quarter was $4.4 million, compared with approximately $26.7 million in the previous year's third quarter.
In addition to the strong U.S. economy and a strong construction surge nationally, demand in the third quarter was helped by increased construction in Florida following the severe hurricanes earlier in the year, demand that will continue into Ashtead's next fiscal year.
Ashtead achieved a third-quarter pre-tax profit of about $1.5 million, compared with a previous-year loss of approximately $13.3 million.Ashtead's U.K. business, A-Plant, showed improved performance as a result of changes in the company's structure to one based on products rather than geography. A third Ashtead business, Ashtead Technology, which provides equipment to the oil and gas industry in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia, benefited from higher oil prices that encouraged companies to boost capital spending.