Ashtead profit rises as hurricanes Harvey, Irma boost equipment demand

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(Reuters) - Ashtead Group Plc reported a 17 percent rise in full-year underlying pretax profit on Tuesday as solid demand for its diggers and tools for clean-up efforts after hurricanes Harvey and Irma in North America boosted equipment rental revenue.

The company's U.S. Sunbelt unit, which accounted for more than 80 percent of the annual revenue, reported an 18 percent rise in total sales at 4.15 billion pounds, as the company focuses more on its North American market to boost growth and combat a weak British pound.

The FTSE 100 component said underlying pretax profit rose to 927.3 million pounds for the year ended April 30, from 793.4 million pounds, on a constant currency basis.

Underlying rental revenue rose 21 percent to 3.42 billion pounds on constant currencies.

The company reiterated confidence in its plans for the medium term, saying strong end markets would help it boost organic growth and execute bolt-on acquisitions.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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