Equipment-hire company Ashtead has posted record third-quarter pretax profits - and revealed British operation A-Plant showed an increase in nine-month operating profit of 14.7 per cent.
Ashtead, which hires out equipment to the UK and US construction, industrial and homeowner markets, said profit in the three months to the end of January rose to £24.2 million, from a £100,000 loss the year before.
The group said it expected conditions in the United States to stay strong.
Analyst Panmure Gordon raised its price target to 260p per share from 235p.
A spokesman said: "These results were way ahead of forecasts, the dynamics of the business are extremely favourable."
Ashtead said it expected £220 million on capital spending, more than double the year before, and £250 million for the year to April 2007.
Chief executive George Burnett said: "In a strong marketplace we are investing for growth and expect to continue to do so."
The business has a number of sites in the Midlands, including operations at Aston, Coventry, Erdington, Red-ditch, Walsall Wood and Wolverhampton.
The group said nine-month operating profit at its US Sunbelt unit had risen 62.6 per cent to $138.4 million (£79.6 million), while APlant's nine-month operating profit hit £10 million.
Sunbelt's performance is partly down to gains in market share, but it was also actively involved in the clean-up effort following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Mr Burnett said there had been a shift in the US to people renting equipment rather than buying it, which was a major driver of growth, and that he saw this trend continuing.
Ashtead has been reorgan-ising its UK sales operations, creating a national sales force, which drove a 6.4 per cent increase in A-Plant's third-quarter revenue.
Mr Burnett said: "It's encouraging for us having made this significant change. We said it would take about 12 months for it to work, and it's encouraging that we are making money this quarter."
Ashtead said in December it was resuming dividend payments after three years after doubling first-half profit.