Ashtead Doesn’t Lay Off a Single Employee, Reports a Record Free Cash Flow Figure for Q4 2021

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The investment holding company’s final quarter for 2021 went better than expected despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the company managing to hold onto every single employee without seeking assistance from any government support programmes and even paying out generous performance bonuses along the way.

According to the company, the stellar results are mostly linked to Ashtead’s unwavering dedication to its long-term strategy involving the broadening and diversification of its end markets, while simultaneously increasing its scale and market share.


Financial performance for Q4 2021

“We returned to growth in the fourth quarter, with rental revenue up 15% over last year and up 14% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2018/19, both at constant exchange rates. . . . I am extraordinarily proud of and grateful to, all our dedicated team members who have made this possible, delivering for all our stakeholders, all while keeping our leading value of safety at the forefront of what we do.”

Brendan Horgan, CEO


Here are the main financial highlights from Ashtead’s most recent earnings release:


– Revenue: total revenue is up 3% (£1.271 billion), rental revenue is up 1% (£1.098 billion)

– Operating profit: £1.135 billion compared to £1.224 billion for 2020

– Profit and earnings per share: pre-tax profit of £998 million (£1.061 billion for 2020) and £1.66 per share (£1.75 for 2020)

– Total invested capital: £718 million versus £1.5 billion for 2020

– Free cash flow: the company achieved a new record of £1.382 billion (last year was £792 million)

– Return on investment: despite the significant headwinds, the company managed to make its investments count, seeing return figures of 20% in the U.S. (last year was 21%), 10% in the UK (last year was 5%), and 16% in Canada (last year was 9%).

– Dividends: the board has proposed a final dividend of 35.0p, making 42.15p for the full year


Forecast for the months ahead

Looking forward, the COVID-19 pandemic may continue to contribute to some market uncertainty in the coming months. However, on the back of the vaccination roll-out, the company expects all of its end markets to continue to recover well. In April, Ashtead launched the next phase of its strategic plan, called Sunbelt 3.0. 

According to the company, this plan is aimed at engaging all stakeholders and is designed to capitalise on the many growth opportunities available, while enhancing the Group’s resilience in more challenging times. Here is a glimpse of the results the company expects in the months to follow:


– Rental revenue: U.S. (6-9%); Canada (20-25%); UK (5-8%)

– Gross capital expenditure: between £1.37 billion and 1.54 billion 

– Free cash flow: between £600 million and £800 million 

Upcoming reports

See the full list of upcoming earnings reports for 21-25 June in the tables below.

Monday, 21st June 2021

CountryCompany nameFiscal period
USAPlug Power Inc
Q1 2021
Kingdom of the NetherlandsProsus NV
Full Year 2021

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021

CountryCompany nameFiscal period
United KingdomDS Smith PLC
Full Year 2021

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021

CountryCompany nameFiscal period
United KingdomBerkeley Group Holdings PLC
Full Year 2020

Thursday, 24th June 2021

CountryCompany nameFiscal period
USAFedEx Corp
Q4 2021
USARite Aid Corp
Q1 2022

Friday, 25th June 2021

CountryCompany nameFiscal period
USAPaychex Inc
Q4 2021
USANike Inc
Q4 2021
CanadaBlackBerry Ltd
Q1 2022


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