- Ashtead touted further stock buybacks after reporting that first-quarter profit was boosted by 'strong' growth in the US and Canadian markets.

'We spent £125m under our share buyback programme in the quarter, and expect to spend a minimum of £500m on share buybacks in 2019/20,' the company said.

For the 3 months ended 31 July, statutory pre-tax profit rose 8% to £304.7m and revenue rose 17% to £1.3bn.

The performance reflected 'strong profit growth in the US, a more moderate improvement in Canada as we invest in the business and a slight drag from weakness in the UK,' the company said.

Rental revenues rose 16% driven by growth in each of the company's divisions, with Sunbelt US, and Sunbelt Canada delivering growth 18% and 26% respectively, offsetting weakness in A-Plant, which saw rental only revenue fall 1%.

'Our business continues to perform well in supportive end markets. Accordingly we expect business performance in line with our expectations and the Board continues to look to the medium term with confidence,' the company said.

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