28 July, 2003

Disposal of certain non-core assets and retirement of a Director

Ashtead Group plc announces that it has disposed of certain non-core businesses and surplus properties in the UK raising over £6 million.

This allows the Group to both pay down debt and expand and focus on its core activities. The following disposals have been made by its subsidiary, Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited which trades as A-Plant.

Big Air
The rental assets and ongoing contracts of A-Plant’s specialist Big Air division have been sold to Speedy Power Limited, a division of Speedy Hire PLC, for a cash consideration of just under £4million, 85% of which will be payable on completion and the balance after asset verification. The business operates from three locations and is involved in the renting of large compressors. One property is being let to the purchaser; the other two sites are to remain with A-Plant for use in its other continuing operations. The assets have been sold at approximately their net book value and the profits attributable to this part of the business for the year ended 30 April 2003 were break-even.

The disposal of this business is not expected to have any material effect on A-Plant. The proceeds will be used to pay down debt.

Mast climbing working platforms
The rental assets and ongoing contracts of A-Plant’s specialist mast climbing business which operated from two locations have been sold to Mastclimbers Limited for a cash consideration of approximately £1.4 million. This disposal will have no material effect on A-Plant.

Freehold properties
A-Plant’s freehold premises at Mansfield have been sold and contracts have also been exchanged for the sale of its freehold premises at Kempston, Bedford. Both properties were surplus to requirements following the relocation of the businesses previously run from these locations. The combined sales proceeds are approximately £1 million and will generate a profit over book value of slightly less than £0.5m.

Retirement of a director
Alan Wheatley, Deputy Chairman, has indicated his intention to retire from the Board effective on the date of the Annual General Meeting (22 September 2003) when he will have served the Group for 9½ years as Deputy Chairman. The Board wishes to record its thanks to Alan for his invaluable contribution to its proceedings since he joined in March 1994