THE INVESTMENT COLUMN: Brandon Hire has growth locked in for coming year

BRANDON HIRE has been renting out tools and building appliances to the construction industry for the past 35 years, growing its business steadily, albeit rather slowly.

Until two years ago that is. Since stepping up the pace in its mission to transform the company from a southern-based business to one of the largest national players in its market, its shares have more than trebled.

Today, with 130 stores - 32 of which were acquired only last year - it has a 6 per cent market share and growing. Fast.

Announcing better than expected full-year profits yesterday and with the group's growing national presence helping to bring in larger accounts, the management intends to keep on its acquisitive track.

Furthermore, earnings from its recent purchases have yet to trickle through to the company's bottom line. So there looks to be certain growth already locked in for the coming year.

At yesterday's price of 169p, which equates to about 12.5 times next year's expected profits, Brandon does not look expensive either - especially compared with its peers. Buy.

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