Mild weather and loss of contract affects HSS's performance

Published:  10 February, 2012

MANCHESTER: Tool and equipment hire specialist HSS Hire Service Group said the loss of a key contract and mild weather affected its performance in 2011, which saw the business post a modest increase in underlying earnings to £39.8m.

HSS, led by chief executive Chris Davies, said full-year profits rose 2%t against 2010 but were down by 3% in the final quarter of 2011.

It blamed significantly lower-than-usual revenues from air conditioning and heating, the loss of a contract with Network Rail and investment costs for slower growth last year than in 2010.

Overall, revenues were up 5% to £180.2m. HSS said growth for other key accounts, including British Waterways and Enterprise, helped offset the Network Rail setback. The firm also launched HSS Outsource, a range of equipment for rental to contract cleaners, and said its training division performed strongly. Looking ahead, HSS said it remains focused on organic growth in 2012 and that underlying demand is still strong.

Mr Davies said he was pleased with the performance of the business in a tough market. He believes this year will continue to see challenging conditions, not least the relatively mild winter so far, but that HSS is well positioned to keep expanding. "We'll continue to drive sales growth whilst focusing on improving margins," he said.

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