Harrogate’s for sale Vp ups revenue 14% to £351m

Harrogate-based equipment rental group Vp plc — which in April launched a formal sale process for the company — said on Wednesday its revenue rose 14% to £350.9 million in the year to March 31, 2022, and it made profit before tax of £35.6 million compared to a loss of £2.3 million in the prior year.

Dividend for the year will rise 44% to 36p per share.

On April 28, Vp said it was launching a formal sale process for the company after an investment firm connected to Vp chairman Jeremy Pilkington decided to sell its 50.26% shareholding in Vp.

Vp has a current stock market value of about £380 million.

On Wednesday, Vp said: “The company has launched a formal sale process and further communication with shareholders will be made if and when appropriate to do so.

“In the meantime, it is ‘business as usual’ as we stay fully focused on delivering on our plans for the current financial year.”

Pilkington said: “These results represent significant progress across the group, as the business continues its recovery following Covid related impacts and we have seen substantial progress across all key financial metrics.

“We are particularly pleased with the increased investment into the rental fleet which was driven by increased demand and an emphasis on lower emission products.

“The strong return on average capital employed performance demonstrates the resilience of the group’s quality of earnings.

“In line with our stated dividend policy and reflecting our confidence in the business, we are pleased to propose a final dividend of 25.5 pence per share, making a total for the year of 36.0 pence.

“Although there are some macro related headwinds from cost inflation and supply chain disruptions, we see significant upside growth opportunities for this year and further ahead. 

“We have every confidence that Vp will continue to deliver sector leading results for all our stakeholders. 

“I would like to thank all colleagues at Vp for their hard work and commitment which yet again has made these excellent results possible.”

Vp CEO Neil Stothard said: “The quality of the recovery in our trading performance is extremely pleasing and these results demonstrate a significant increase in profitability and a material recovery in the quality of those profits.

“These strong results have been largely supported by the core markets which we serve.

“Over the last financial year, I am particularly pleased with our ESG initiatives where we have continued to invest in apprenticeships and our employees as well as our commitment to the environment.

“Throughout the year we continued to invest in our ambition to be net carbon zero by 2050 with all our businesses continuing to introduce new greener equipment solutions to their customers.

“Although there are widely reported macro issues for all businesses, we continue to meet current challenges on a day to day basis.

“I am optimistic of Vp’s future prospects and believe our core markets will continue to offer good opportunities for further increases in demand for our products and services in the new financial year.

“The group is in a strong position to continue to embrace those new opportunities as well as managing any potential headwinds.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.