Speedy Hire maintains positive momentum in first quarter
Tools, equipment and plant rental company Speedy Hire said in a trading update on Wednesday that market conditions had remained “favourable” since year-end, as it traded in line with its own expectations.
The London-listed firm said it had continued to win new customers and take market share, adding that UK and Ireland core hire revenue for June was 3% ahead of the same period in the 2020f financial year, being a more meaningful comparator than the 2021 year.
Overheads remained “tightly controlled” following action to manage the cost base during the 2021 financial year, the board said, with asset utilisation rates for the first quarter of 2022 2% ahead of the same period two years prior.
As it had previously reported, Geason Training was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and market conditions.
Speedy said it remained committed to providing training to its customers, and would be concentrating on the success of short-duration courses aligned to its core operations, meaning it would cease the provision of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) and apprenticeships from 31 July.
The group entered into a transitional services agreement following the disposal of the Middle East business on 1 March, which was due to expire on 30 June, but had been extended to 30 September following pandemic-related delays.
On conclusion of the agreement, Speedy said it would wind up its operations in the Middle East.
Looking at its finances, Speedy Hire said cash collections remained “strong”, adding that following capital expenditure of £20m in the first quarter, net debt as at 30 June was “broadly unchanged” from 31 March.
The group's £180m asset-based finance facility had been renewed for three years through to July 2024, and in addition, uncommitted options exist for a further two one-year extensions to July 2026.
Speedy said the additional uncommitted accordion of £220m also remained in place through to July 2024.
The terms of the facility, which was split equally between NatWest, Barclays, HSBC, Wells Fargo and ABN Amro, were “broadly similar” to the expiring facility.
It said the facility gave it headroom with which to support organic growth and acquisition opportunities.
“I am pleased to report that we have maintained positive trading momentum and made further strategic progress in the first quarter of the financial year,” said chief executive officer Russell Down.
“We have a strong balance sheet and our renewed banking facility gives the group substantial headroom to support future growth.”
At 1003 BST, shares in Speedy Hire were up 1.95% at 68p.