Hewden Stuart up by 60%

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The Independent Online
A near doubling of profits in the second half helped Hewden Stuart, the UK's largest independent plant hire company, achieve a 60 per cent increase in pre-tax profits in the year to January, writes Tom Stevenson.

Sir Matthew Goodwin, chairman, said the improvement reflected continued investment during the recession. He said a reduction in the stock of modern equipment would increase demand for Hewden's young fleet, leading to further profit increases.

A six-month contribution from BET's plant-hire assets acquired in July helped turnover rise 21 per cent to pounds 200m, from which pre-tax profits of pounds 19.1m ( pounds 12m) were struck. Earnings per share rose 85 per cent to 6.77p and a final dividend of 2.15p makes a total 2.9p.

Cash flow, which Sir Matthew said was better than profits as a reflection of progress, increased from 18.5p per share to 23.2p. The shares closed 9p higher at 161p.