- Equipment rental specialist VP said pretax profit increased 9% to £17.4m in the year to end-March (2012: £16m). Operating margins rose to 11.9% (2012: 11.5%).

Basic earnings per share pre-amortisation improved 15.3% to 35.47 pence.

Revenues of £167.0 million were 3% ahead of prior year (2012: £161.5 million).

Return on average capital employed improved to 13.3% (2012: 13.0%).

There was a modest increase in net debt to £45.3 million (2012: £40.4 million) after funding:-

◦Capital investment in the fleet of £22.5 million

◦Acquisitions of £4.1 million

◦Tender offer for shares completed at £7.8 million

Final dividend proposed of 9.0 pence per share, making a total of 12.25 pence for the full year (2012: 11.35 pence), an increase of 8%.

Solid balance sheet with strong operational cash flow of £39.8 million.

Jeremy Pilkington, Chairman, commented: "The Group has delivered another strong performance with increased profits, margins and return on capital employed. Whilst the economic background still contains significant uncertainties and challenges, this set of results again demonstrates the Group's ability to continue to deliver value for shareholders even within a relatively unsupportive trading environment.

"Each of our businesses continues to work hard to uncover opportunities for investment and growth and we believe that the Group has positive momentum moving into the new financial year. We look forward to another year of progression as we maintain our focus on delivering consistent, quality and sustainable returns over the long term." Story provided by