- Equipment rental specialist VP reported profit before tax and amortisation of £8.6m for the half-year to end-September (2009: £9.8m) on revenues of £71.1m.

Interim dividend was maintained at 3.1p per share.

Capital investment increased to £9.7m (2009: £7.6m).

Net debt was reduced by £8m to £40m representing financial gearing of 35%.

VP said it had a solid balance sheet with a strong cash performance.

Jeremy Pilkington, Chairman, commented: "Despite the adverse conditions which have existed in some of our core markets, the Group has delivered very satisfactory profits and margins. These results reinforce our confidence in the quality of our business model, which has demonstrated once again its ability to mitigate the impact of individual sector weaknesses through the diversity activities. The Group has delivered further significant debt reductions and our balance sheet is again stronger than at the same time last year. This financial strength will continue to be a great asset to the Group in its future development.

"The Group has experienced a period of general stability over the last six months and this has continued since the end of the half year. We believe any recovery in the economy will be slow and that there will be further challenges along the way. However, the Board remains confident of the Group's ability to capitalise on opportunities as they arise."

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