15 January, 2004

Disposal of Irish business

Ashtead Group plc announces that it has today sold its Irish business, comprising 15 profit centres in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to McCormick Macnaughton, the Caterpillar dealer for Ireland.

The estimated consideration of £12.1 million comprises £8.2 million being paid in cash at closing and the balance which will be payable in stages in coming months, following agreement of asset values. After paying costs, the net proceeds will be applied to reduce outstanding bank debt.

The business being sold generated a profit before interest of £0.5 million in the year ended 30 April 2003 and £0.2 million in the twelve months ended 31 December 2003. The book value of the net assets being sold is £12.5 million and its EBITDA for the twelve months ended 31 December 2003 was £2.4 million.

Henry Staunton will vacate the role of chairman on 1 January 2004 but will remain a non-executive director of Ashtead.

Following the disposal, which completes A-Plant’s restructuring programme, A-Plant remains the second largest equipment rental company in the UK. A-Plant comprises three focussed divisions: Plant, Tool Hire Shops and Specialist businesses, together operating a total of 216 profit centres providing national service throughout Great Britain.

George Burnett, Chief Executive of Ashtead Group, said: “We are delighted to announce this transaction, which represents the completion of our restructuring programme in A-Plant. We are now looking forward to being able to focus exclusively on driving A-Plant forward.”