Ashtead said it remained cautious about the outlook for UK construction but has returned to investing in renewing the A-Plant fleet.
Geoff Drabble, Ashtead’s chief executive, said: “In the UK, performance improved in the second half and we delivered year on year profit growth.
“Looking forward we remain cautious over the outlook for end construction markets in the short term.
He added: “However, we continue to benefit from the structural shift to rental, market share gains and the improvements we have established in all key areas of our business.
“Together with our balance sheet strength and strong market positions, this makes us confident of another year of good progress.”
A-Plant’s total revenue growth was 2% including 1% growth in rental revenue to £154m.
Its average fleet on rent grew 2% while yield declined by 1%.
The group as a whole was boosted by Ashstead’s US Sunbelt business, helping overall pre-tax profits, before exceptionals, to jump to £31m in the year-end April 2011 from £5m the year before.
Total revenue was up by around 10% to £948m.
Ashtead is now stepping up capital expenditure from £225m to £325m this coming year.