Speedy Hire follows rival HSS with profits warning

Speedy Hire
has warned that its results for this year will come in "materially" short of expectatio

Speedy Hire has warned that its results for this year will come in "materially" short of expectations. Photo: VisMedia - Credit: Vismedia

Tool rental business Speedy Hire saw nearly a third of its stock market value wiped off after it announced the shock departure of its chief executive and warned over a major blow to full year profits.

The company, which was founded in 1977, said a slower than forecast start to its current financial year would see annual figures come in “materially “ below the group’s expectations and the previous year’s result.

It added that chief executive Mark Rogerson had stepped down, while it also disappointed investors with news that talks over a sale of its oil and gas business in the Middle East had fallen through.

Shares in the group plunged 32% in the immediate wake of the profit warning.

The group’s alert comes just days after rival HSS Hire also warned over profits, which sent its shares slumping by more than a quarter.

HSS said on Monday that weak orders over the last few months from key accounts meant its six-month earnings would not top last year.

Speedy, which hires out tools, equipment and plants to construction, infrastructure and industrial markets, blamed its trading woes on a lack of available equipment and a focus on strategic accounts at the expense of small and medium clients, among other factors.

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Chairman Jan Astrand, who has taken on an executive role on an interim basis following the departure of Mr Rogerson, said: “This is extremely disappointing.

“I believe that Speedy remains a fundamentally good business but, whilst some progress has been made over the last year, the remedial action programmes have not been delivered as needed.”

He added that improving performance was “our top priority”.

Russell Down, group finance director, has been appointed chief executive with immediate effect and will also retain the finance role until a replacement is hired.

Mr Astrand will revert back to non-executive chairman at the time of the group’s half-year results in November, the firm added. The group hopes to update on its recovery plan in September.

Speedy Hire has 221 sites across the UK and Ireland, as well as a number of on-site facilities at client locations and from an international hub based in the Middle East.