14 June, 2022

Audited results for the year and unaudited results for the fourth quarter ended 30 April 2022

Read and download the audited results for the year and unaudited results for the fourth quarter ended 30 April 2022. You can also view the latest webcast.

 Fourth quarterYear
Rental Revenue1,8751,52224%7,2355,90222%
Operating profit44536821%1,9481,49830%
Adjusted2 profit before taxation41832628%1,8241,31638%
Profit before taxation38630626%1,6681,23535%
Adjusted2 earnings per share72.0¢54.0¢34%307.1¢219.1¢40%
Earnings per share66.5¢50.5¢32%280.9¢205.4¢37%

Full year highlights3

  • Record performance with strong momentum across the business
  • Revenue up 19%1; rental revenue up 22%1
  • Good progress against all Sunbelt 3.0 actionable components
  • 123 locations added in North America
  • $2.4bn of capital invested in the business (2021: $947m)
  • $1.3bn spent on 25 bolt-on acquisitions (2021: $172m)
  • $414m (£305m) allocated to share buybacks (2021: $nil)
  • Net debt to EBITDA leverage1,3 of 1.5 times (2021: 1.4 times)
  • Proposed final dividend of 67.5¢, making 80.0¢ for the full year (2021: 58.0¢)

1. Calculated at constant exchange rates applying current period exchange rates.
2. Adjusted results are stated before exceptional items and amortisation.
3. Throughout this announcement we refer to a number of alternative performance measures which provide additional useful information. The directors have adopted these to provide additional information on the underlying trends, performance and position of the Group. The alternative performance measures are not defined by IFRS and therefore may not be directly comparable with other companies’ alternative performance measures, but are defined and reconciled in the Glossary of Terms on page 38.

Ashtead’s chief executive, Brendan Horgan, commented:

“I am delighted to be able to report a year of record performance for the Group.  We performed strongly across all geographies with rental revenue up 22% at constant currency (23% when compared with 2019/20).  This market outperformance across the business is only possible through the dedication of our team members who deliver for all our stakeholders every day, while ensuring our leading value of safety remains at the forefront of all we do.

 Sunbelt 3.0 is embedded in the business and we are making good progress across all actionable components.  We invested $2.4bn in capital across existing locations and greenfields and $1.3bn on 25 bolt-on acquisitions, adding a combined total of 123 locations in North America during the year.  This significant investment is enabling us to take advantage of the substantial structural growth opportunity that we see for the business as we deliver our strategic priorities to grow general tool and amplify specialty.  We are achieving all this while maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet with leverage at the lower end of our target range.

 Our business has demonstrated its ability over the last two years to perform in both good times and more challenging ones.  The new financial year has started well and the business has clear momentum.  We are well positioned to navigate the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities arising from the market circumstances we face, including supply chain constraints, inflation, labour scarcity and economic uncertainty, all factors which we believe to be drivers of ongoing structural change. The Board looks to the future with confidence.”


Will ShawDirector of Investor Relations+44 (0)20 7726 9700
Neil BennettMaitland/AMO+44 (0)20 7379 5151
James McFarlaneMaitland/AMO+44 (0)7584 142665

Brendan Horgan and Michael Pratt will hold a meeting for equity analysts to discuss the results and outlook at 9:30am on Tuesday, 14 June 2022 at The London Stock Exchange, 10 Paternoster Square, London, EC4M 7LS.  The meeting will be webcast live via the Company’s website at www.ashtead-group.com and a replay will be available via the website shortly after the call concludes.  A copy of this announcement and the slide presentation used for the call are available for download on the Company’s website.  The usual conference call for bondholders will begin at 3:30pm (10:30am EST).

Analysts and bondholders have already been invited to participate in the analyst call and conference call for bondholders but any eligible person not having received details should contact the Company’s PR advisers, Maitland/AMO (Audrey Da Costa) at +44 (0)20 7379 5151.

Forward looking statements

This announcement contains forward looking statements.  These have been made by the directors in good faith using information available up to the date on which they approved this report.  The directors can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to be correct.  Due to the inherent uncertainties, including both business and economic risk factors underlying such forward looking statements, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward looking statements.  Except as required by law or regulation, the directors undertake no obligation to update any forward looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Change in presentational currency

Effective from 1 May 2021, the Group changed its presentational currency from sterling to US dollars to allow for greater transparency in the Group’s performance for investors and other stakeholders and to reduce exchange rate volatility in reported figures, given that c. 80% of the Group’s revenue and c. 90% of the Group’s operating profit originate in US dollars.  Accordingly, the Group’s financial statements within this announcement are presented in US dollars.  Further details were provided in our announcement ‘Change in presentational currency’ released on
15 June 2021 and in the Group’s Annual Report & Accounts 2021, available via the Company’s website at www.ashtead-group.com.

Trading results

 2022 20212022202120222021
UK in £m725.7635.1214.6192.886.860.9
Canada in C$m626.0500.9281.4218.9143.697.8
UK in $m986.3838.1291.7254.4118.080.4
Canada in $m499.0383.0224.3167.4114.474.8
Group central costs- -(27.2)(19.5)(28.3)(20.6)
Net financing costs before exceptional items(232.6)(262.9)
Profit before amortisation,
exceptional items and tax
Exceptional items(47.1)-
Profit before taxation1,668.11,235.1
Taxation charge(417.0)(315.0)
Profit attributable to equity holders of the Company1,251.1920.1

1  Segment result presented is adjusted operating profit.

Group revenue increased 20% (19% at constant currency) to $7,962m during the year
(2021: $6,639m).  This revenue growth, combined with strong operational execution, resulted in adjusted profit before tax increasing 39% to $1,824m (2021: $1,316m).

In the US, rental only revenue of $4,782m (2021: $3,976m) was 20% higher than the prior year (and 18% higher than 2020), representing continued market outperformance and demonstrating the benefits of our strategy of growing our specialty businesses and broadening our end markets. Organic growth (same store and greenfields) was around 16%, while bolt-ons contributed approximately 4% of rental only revenue growth.  In the year, our general tool business grew 17%, while our specialty businesses grew 28% following growth of 13% in 2020/21.  While rental revenue growth has been driven by volume, with a larger fleet and improved utilisation, it has benefitted from improved rates in what is a better rate environment than we have seen for a number of years.  Our year-over-year rate of growth increased as we progressed through the year.  US total revenue, including new and used equipment, merchandise and consumable sales, increased 20% to $6,477m (2021: $5,418m).

The UK business generated rental only revenue of £403m, up 11% on the prior year (2021: £362m).  While our performance continued to benefit from our essential support to the Department of Health in its COVID-19 response efforts, our core business is performing strongly and is benefitting from the operational improvements in the business which are ongoing.  Total revenue increased 14% to £726m (2021: £635m) reflecting the higher level of ancillary and sales revenue associated with the work for the Department of Health, which accounted for c. 30% of UK revenue in the twelve months.  Following the UK government’s announcement that free mass COVID testing would stop from April 2022, we are demobilising the test sites rapidly and expect a relatively low revenue contribution in 2022/23.

Canada’s rental only revenue increased 26% to C$456m (2021: C$363m).  While this rate of growth reflects the depressed comparatives last year, it is driven by the strong performance of the original Canadian business and our lighting, grip and lens business since lockdowns eased.  That said, the lighting, grip and lens business was affected again by COVID induced production restrictions in the second half.  Canada’s total revenue was C$626m (2021: C$501m).

Last year, we took action to reduce operating costs and eliminate discretionary expenditure in all our markets.  While we continue to maintain a focus on the cost base, a number of these costs have returned to the business, reflecting the increased activity levels.  In addition, we continue to invest in the infrastructure of the business to enable us to take advantage of the market and structural opportunities, particularly in our technology platform.  In common with many businesses, we face inflationary pressures across all cost lines, but particularly in relation to labour, transportation and fuel.  However, our strong performance on rate, combined with our scale, has enabled us to navigate this inflationary environment and deliver US rental revenue drop through to EBITDA in line with our expectations for the first year of Sunbelt 3.0 at 39%.  This contributed to a reported EBITDA margin of 48% (2021: 49%) and a 28% increase in segment profit to $1,852m (2021: $1,445m) at a margin of 29% (2021: 27%).

Support for the Department of Health has been a benefit to the UK business but also presented it with logistical and operational challenges.  It remains focused on delivering operational efficiency and improving returns in the business and will seek to redeploy the assets dedicated to the testing centres elsewhere in the business.  The UK generated an EBITDA margin of 30% (2021: 30%) and a segment profit of £87m (2021: £61m) at a margin of 12% (2021: 10%).

The development of our Canadian business continues as it invests to expand its network and broaden its markets.  Growth has been achieved across the business while delivering a 45% EBITDA margin (2021: 44%) and generating a segment profit of C$144m (2021: C$98m) at a margin of 23% (2021: 20%).

Overall, Group adjusted operating profit increased to $2,056m (2021: $1,579m), up 30% at constant exchange rates.  After net financing costs before exceptional items of $233m (2021: $263m), Group profit before exceptional items, amortisation of intangibles and taxation was $1,824m (2021: $1,316m).  After a tax charge of 25% (2021: 25%) of the adjusted pre-tax profit, adjusted earnings per share increased 40% at constant currency to 307.1ȼ (2021: 219.1ȼ).

Statutory profit before tax was $1,668m (2021: $1,235m).  This is after amortisation of $109m
(2021: $81m) and, in the current year, exceptional interest costs of $47m.  Included within the total tax charge is a tax credit of $39m (2021: $20m) which relates to exceptional items and the amortisation of intangibles.  As a result, basic earnings per share were 280.9¢ (2021: 205.4¢). The overall cash tax charge was 15%.

Capital expenditure and acquisitions

Capital expenditure for the year was $2,397m gross and $2,032m net of disposal proceeds (2021: $947m gross and $540m net).  Despite the supply chain challenges we have faced this represents a record year of fleet investment for the Group.   Given strong demand and slower fleet deliveries than expected during the year due to supply chain delays, we deferred certain fleet disposals.  As a result, the Group’s rental fleet at 30 April 2022 at cost was $13.5bn and our average fleet age is now 40 months (2021: 41 months).

We invested $1,274m (2021: $172m) including acquired borrowings in 25 bolt-on acquisitions during the year as we continue to both expand our footprint and diversify our end markets.  Further details are provided in note 16.  Since the period end, we have invested a further $230m in bolt-ons.

 For 2022/23, our plan is for gross capital expenditure to be in the range of $3.3 – 3.6bn as we execute on Sunbelt 3.0.

Return on Investment

Return on investment returned to pre-pandemic levels following the depressed levels of COVID affected 2020/21.  In the US, return on investment (excluding goodwill and intangible assets) for the 12 months to 30 April 2022 was 25% (2021: 20%).  In the UK, reflecting the benefits of increased volumes supporting the Department of Health and operational improvements, return on investment (excluding goodwill and intangible assets) was 14% (2021: 10%).  In Canada, return on investment (excluding goodwill and intangible assets) was 20% (2021: 16%).  This reflects improved performance across the business and an increasing contribution from our lighting, grip and lens business.  For the Group as a whole, return on investment (including goodwill and intangible assets) was 18% (2021: 15%).  Return on investment excludes the impact of IFRS 16.

Cash flow and net debt

The increased scale of the business enabled the Group to generate free cash flow of $1,125m (2021: $1,822m) during the year, despite capital expenditure payments of $2,164m
(2021: $955m).  However, as expected, debt increased during the year as we continued to invest in bolt-ons and returned capital to shareholders.  During the year, we spent $410m (£302m) on share buybacks (2021: $nil) under the two year buy back programme launched in May 2021 of up to £1bn.

In August 2021, the Group took advantage of good debt markets and refinanced its debt facilities by issuing $550m 1.500% senior notes maturing in August 2026 and $750m 2.450% senior notes maturing in August 2031.  The net proceeds of the issues were used to repurchase the Group’s $600m 4.125% senior notes due 2025 and $600m 5.250% senior notes due 2026, pay related fees and expenses and repay an element of the amount outstanding under the ABL facility.  In addition, the Group also increased and extended its asset-based senior bank facility, with $4.5bn committed until August 2026.  Other principal terms and conditions remain unchanged.  These actions ensure the Group’s debt package continues to be well structured and flexible, enabling us to optimise the opportunity presented by end market conditions.  The Group’s debt facilities are now committed for an average of six years at a weighted average cost of 3%.

Net debt at 30 April 2022 was $7,160m (2021: $5,801m).  Excluding the effect of IFRS 16, net debt at 30 April 2022 was $5,179m (2021: $4,180m), while the ratio of net debt to EBITDA was 1.5 times (2021: 1.4 times) on a constant currency basis.  The Group’s target range for net debt to EBITDA is 1.5 to 2.0 times excluding the impact of IFRS 16 (1.9 to 2.4 times post IFRS 16).  Including the effect of IFRS 16, the ratio of net debt to EBITDA was 2.0 times (2021: 1.9 times) on a constant currency basis.

At 30 April 2022, availability under the senior secured debt facility was $2,537m with an additional $3,029m of suppressed availability – substantially above the $450m level at which the Group’s entire debt package is covenant free.


The Company has a progressive dividend policy, which considers both profitability and cash generation, and results in a dividend that is sustainable across the cycle.  Our intention has always been to increase the dividend as profits increase and be able to maintain it when profits decline.  In accordance with this policy, the Board is recommending a final dividend of 67.5¢ per share (2021: 48.24¢) making 80.0¢ for the year (2021: 58.0¢), an increase of 38%.  If approved at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, the final dividend will be paid on 9 September 2022 to shareholders on the register on 12 August 2022.

The dividend is declared in US dollars but will be paid in sterling unless shareholders elect to receive their dividend in US dollars.  Those shareholders who wish to receive their dividend in US dollars and have not yet made an election may do so by contacting Equiniti on 0371 384 2934 (International: +44 (0) 121 415 7011).  The last day for election for the proposed final dividend is 26 August 2022.

Capital allocation

The Group remains disciplined in its approach to allocation of capital with the overriding objective being to enhance shareholder value. 

Our capital allocation framework remains unchanged and prioritises:

  • organic fleet growth;
    • same-stores;
    • greenfields;
  • bolt-on acquisitions; and
  • a progressive dividend with consideration to both profitability and cash generation that is sustainable through the cycle.

Additionally, we consider further returns to shareholders.  In this regard, we assess continuously our medium term plans which take account of investment in the business, growth prospects, cash generation, net debt and leverage.  Therefore, the amount allocated to buybacks is simply driven by that which is available after organic growth, bolt-on M&A and dividends, whilst allowing us to operate within our 1.5 to 2.0 times target range for net debt to EBITDA pre IFRS 16.

Current trading and outlook

Our business has demonstrated its ability over the last two years to perform in both good times and more challenging ones.  The new financial year has started well and the business has clear momentum.  We are well positioned to navigate the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities arising from the market circumstances we face, including supply chain constraints, inflation, labour scarcity and economic uncertainty, all factors which we believe to be drivers of ongoing structural change. The Board looks to the future with confidence.”

Rental revenue1
- US13 to 16%
- Canada15 to 18%
- UK2-5 to -2%
- Group12 to 14%
Capital expenditure (gross) 3$3.3 – 3.6bn 

Free cash flow3

c. $300m

1 Represents change in year-over-year rental revenue at constant exchange rates
2 UK total revenue down c. 15% due to NHS impact
3 Stated at C$1=$0.80 and £1=$1.25

Directors’ responsibility statement on the annual report

The responsibility statement below has been prepared in connection with the Company’s Annual Report & Accounts for the year ended 30 April 2022.  Certain parts thereof are not included in this announcement.

“We confirm to the best of our knowledge:

  1. the consolidated financial statements, prepared in accordance with IFRS in conformity with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit of the Group;
  2. the Strategic report includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Group, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that it faces; and
  3. the Annual Report and financial statements, taken as a whole, are fair, balanced and understandable and provide information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group’s performance, business model and strategy.

By order of the Board

Eric Watkins
Company secretary
13 June 2022”