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Pre-tax losses widen at Speedy Hire

Speedy Hire saw its pre-tax losses increase by 18% last year, while sales rose slightly, the group has said.

The listed tools and equipment firm attributed the losses, of £27 million, to exceptional costs of nearly £21m in the 12 months to the end of March.

However sales were up by 0.9% to £354.2m during the same period.

The group incurred around £5m in restructuring costs as it sought to reduce its cost base, and took a £14m hit on write-downs associated with its temporary accommodation division which was sold to Peterborough-based Elliott Group last month.

After adjusting the figures by stripping out amortisation and exceptionals, the Haydock firm said it cut losses to £700,000 from £6.2m.

It was helped by a stronger second half when it made an adjusted pre-tax profit of £9.2m, compared to an adjusted loss of £9.9m in the first six months.

Speedy Hire has been hit by the slump in the construction sector and in the past few years has cut its workforce by 29% and its vehicle fleet by 33%. Chief executive Steve Corcoran said March 31 marked the end of the “most tumultuous period” in the group’s 34-year history.

Chairman Ishbel Macpherson said: “Whilst it has been another challenging year for our sector, I am pleased to report that the business has been stabilised through continued cost management, improvement in pricing and an ongoing investment programme in our depot network, IT trading platform, hire fleet and services.

“Each of these has contributed to the establishment of a solid base from which to return the business to growth.”