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Investment: Hill Hire keeps on trucking

HILL HIRE, the Bradford-based truck and trailer rental specialist, is just one of many companies that suffered particularly heavily during the stock market rout. Although the shares have bounced, they are still 30 per cent below their peak.

Yesterday, profits for the half to the end of September came in at the top of expectations, up 21 per cent to pounds 2.61m on turnover up 28 per cent to pounds 15.57m. The fleet grew by 28 per cent and capacity utilisation edged up from 81 per cent to 83 per cent.

A downturn will inevitably affect demand, but the company is confident that the national trend to outsourcing truck and trailer fleets will compensate. There is also still scope for increasing market share and extending coverage.

Hill Hire has six depots across the country, but there is still scope for depots to cover the South-west, West Midlands and Tyne Tees. On full- year forecasts of pounds 6.3m, the shares - down a penny at 138p yesterday - trade on a forward multiple of just eight. That looks cheap.