- Industrial equipment hire company Ashtead Group maintained its dividend amid confidence it would strengthen its market position and generate strong cash flow in its new fiscal year.

The company also reported a fall in annual profit following a weak end to the final quarter of its fiscal year amid weaker rental demand.

The company proposed a final dividend of 33.5p, taking its dividend for the year to 40.65p, up from 40.0p last year.

In the 12 months ended 30 April, statutory pre-tax profit slipped 7% to £240.9m on-year, while revenue rose 12% to £1.14bn.

Performance was hurt by a slump in the fourth-quarter performance, with profit down 52% owing to lower trading volumes in the second half of March and April as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Looking forward, the company said the impact of the pandemic would continue to give rise to market uncertainties over the coming months, but said it was 'well positioned' to respond to the lack of visibility. Story provided by