How equipment rental firm Vp in Harrogate has been buoyed by recent trading

Equipment rental business Vp has reported that trading is in line with its expectations despite economic activity in many areas remaining constrained by Covid restrictions.

Equipment rental business Vp has reported that trading is in line with its expectations.

The Harrogate-based firm's core markets of infrastructure, construction and housebuilding have experienced a positive trajectory over recent months and with the prospect of returning to greater economic normality Vp says it is confident that the recovery will accelerate and become increasingly robust.

Revenues recovered to 95 per cent of pre-Covid levels during the period. In the year debt has reduced by 22 per cent from £160m at April 1, 2020, to £124m at March 31, 2021.

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Highlights during the period in the UK include the securing of a long term preferred supply agreement with Balfour Beatty Rail.

While new management at its ESS division, which provides safety, survey, communications and test and measurement equipment rental, has completed its exit from the Netherlands and is currently supporting one of the largest industrial shutdowns in the UK at the Valero plant in South Wales.

Vp says that it has also been increasingly busy supporting contractors on HS2 in both the enabling and construction phases and that its previously announced long term contract with Network Rail has had a successful first year.

The Harrogate-based business added that the lockdown has catalysed further innovation with growth in online tool hire rental for its Brandon Hire Station division progressing well.

Vp's international businesses experienced equally volatile trading conditions to the UK, but those overseas territories are also recovering well as markets reopen.

Neil Stothard, chief executive of Vp, said: "As we have seen specific markets pick up, we have started to invest again in new equipment to meet demand as the latent capacity of the fleet has been drawn back into productive use.

"The timing of some of this investment has been accelerated due to hopefully short term supply chain challenges for certain products, relating to both Covid-19 and Brexit disruptions.

"As we enter the new financial year, we are pleased to see revenues returning to 95 per cent of pre-Covid levels and this despite some sectors, such as events and hospitality, remaining closed, infrastructure programmes, such as AMP7 and CP6, not yet fully up to speed and confidence in the general construction market improving but still not fully recovered to pre-Covid levels.

"Our financial position remains strong having further reduced debt during the period leaving a platform for growth.

"We look forward to reporting another market leading performance in the UK this year and view the next 12 months with increasing confidence."

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