24 November, 2005

Head & Engquist Settles Litigation, Sunbelt to Recieve $20.1M

Ashtead Group PLC (“Ashtead”), the international equipment rental group serving the construction, industrial and homeowner markets, announces that Head & Engquist Equipment LLC (“H&E”) and Ashtead’s US subsidiary, Sunbelt Rentals Inc. (“Sunbelt”) have agreed to settle their outstanding litigation.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, H&E has agreed to pay to Sunbelt the sum of $20,133,972.60 (approximately £11.7m) on or by Monday 28 November and Sunbelt has agreed to accept this amount in full settlement of the North Carolina Court’s original judgement in its favour. Payment of the settlement continues to be secured by the $20.1m letter of credit H&E has lodged with the Court which will be released once Sunbelt has received the settlement.

The events subject to litigation date back to 2000, in the period immediately prior to Sunbelt's acquisition of BET USA, when H&E executed a plan to develop its aerial work platform rental business by raiding over 100 staff from the BPS division of BET USA, to open competing rental stores in seven major markets served by BPS.

When received the judgement will be credited to the Group’s income statement for the year ending 30 April 2006 as an exceptional item and the monies received will be applied to reduce borrowings under the Company’s asset based senior credit facility.