Vp enjoys record year

Equipment rental group Vp has reported record financials after all but one of its operating divisions recorded growth in revenue and profit last year.

For the year ended 31st March 2015, Vp’s revenue increased 12% to £205.6m (2014: £183.1m).

Profit before tax and amortisation was up 33% to £26.8m (2014: £20.1m), while operating profit was up 32% to £28.8m.

After shelling out £49.3m on capital investment in the fleet and £5.5m to buy the trackside plant and equipment rental business of Balfour Beatty Rail, net debt rose from £53m during the year to £67m.

Chairman Jeremy Pilkington said: “It has been a record breaking year for the group with significant progress made across all key metrics including profits, revenue, earnings per share and dividends.  The economic environment in both the UK and globally is more positive than for some time and all Group business divisions are identifying significant growth and investment opportunities for the near and long term future.”

“The board believes that Vp’s diverse business model coupled with an active pursuit of growth opportunities will help to continue to deliver quality returns for our shareholders.  We look forward to the year ahead with much confidence.”

Margins increased to 13% (2014: 11%); return on average capital employed improved by 20% to 16.2% (2014: 13.5%) and basic earnings per share pre-amortisation grew 30% to 54.5 pence per share.

At the telehandler hire business, UK Forks, revenue grew 12% to £18.2m (2014: £16.3m) and profit by 62% to £4.0m (2014: £2.5m).

Groundforce, the ground engineering equipment division, saw revenue rise 5% to £44.4m (2014: £42.3m) and profit for the year rise from £7.9m to £8.9m.

Tool hire chain Hire Station grew revenue by 16% to a record £77.0m, while profit grew even more strongly to £8.7m (2014: £4.8m).

The rail plant business Torrent Trackside saw revenue leap 34% to £29.9m (2014: £22.3m), generating a profit of £3.4m (2014: £2.8m).

Airpac Bukom, the oil and gas business, saw 6% growth in revenue to £21.5m (2014: £20.2m) and profit reach £2.8m, up from £2.0m the previous year.

By contrast, Vp’s portable roadways business, TPA, had a slower year, thanks to an unseasonally dry winter generating much less demand than the previous year, when much of the country seemed to be a quagmire most of the time. TPA revenue slowed 8% to £14.6m (2014: £15.8m) while operating profit dipped from £1.8m to £1m.

Group managing director Neil Stothard said: “Moving into the new financial year, the constituent business units are well positioned to reap the benefits of sustained market demand particularly in general construction, housebuilding and large elements of the infrastructure sector.  Oil and gas presents some shorter term challenges, but overall the group continues to be well positioned in markets which are generally supportive.”