Builders tools and equipment providers Speedy Hire is planning to expand in the West Midlands, it has been revealed.
The company unveiled proposals for three new depots in Birmingham and the Black Country with a capital investment of around £1 million.
That news came as the firm revealed 16.9 per cent rise in profit before tax, exceptionals and goodwill, to £25.7 million in the year to March 31.
Speedy Hire painted an upbeat forecast for the year, describing customers as " extremely positive".
Chief executive Steve Corcoran said: "We have a strong presence in Birmingham and the West Midlands where we employ around 157 people at 18 depots. We are in the process of finalising plans for three more depots in the year to March 2006 in Birmingham and the Black Country.
"That would represent around 24 jobs and an investment around £1 million."
During the year 34 depots were opened, on top of five acquisitions, including Multi Group, Coates Hire and Simons Construction. That helped turnover at its 302 hire shops surge 21.3 per cent to £206.5 million.
Like-for-like sales, which strips out the impact of newly opened outlets, climbed as the company increased market share.
Profit margins remained stable at 14.8 per cent compared to 15.0 per cent last year. The company said it plans to continue to open new depots both in tool hire and equipment rental, as it is still under-represented in several major towns.
The total dividend was up to 12.3p, from 10.5p last time. Analysts at Evolution were expecting profit of £26.0 million with a 12p dividend.
Chairman David Wallis said: "At present, our major customers remain extremely positive regarding the outlook for their businesses, reporting strong order books for significant periods of time into the future.
"Should there be any material change we are well placed to act quickly and appropriately and these circumstances may present further consolidation opportunities." He noted however that despite the positive outlook there are signs that parts of the UK economy may be cooling, as consumers pare back spending.
While this caution may feed through to the wider construction market, he indicated that Speedy Hire should be protected by the range of markets in which it operates.
The tool and equipment hire group, which counts building groups such as Kier, Mowlem and Morgan Sindall as its customers, has been making acquisitions as it expands into non-construction markets.
Profit margins remained stable at 14.8 per cent compared to 15.0 per cent last year.
The company wanted to continue to expand into new markets and products areas, and focus on capturing more revenue from existing customers.
Tool hire currently represents 62 per cent of the company's business, and equipment hire 38 per cent.
The equipment rental market is estimated to be worth £2 billion per year, Speedy Hire said.