HSS Hire Shares Fall as Company Continues to Make Losses

Shares in HSS Hire are continuing to plummet as the company’s losses persist.

The latest share drop this week saw the tool hire group suffer its greatest slide since its market listing last year to 63% after it said it mired in losses in the first half of the year.

Since it floated on the market at the beginning of last year, HSS has endured a difficult time as it was the worst-performing initial public offering in the UK last year and suffered a steep £14.1m pre-tax loss.

However, its first half earnings for 2016 showed some signs of improvement, as HSS reported earlier in the week a £9.8 million loss before tax in the 27 weeks to July 2.

In the past few years the UK construction industry has boomed, with housebuilders the most successful, while equipment rental groups have found times hard.

However, their problems have been primarily self-inflicted, rather than being prompted by challenges to the sector.

Since it floated in February last year, HSS has been a turbulent ride for investors and in its first 14 months as a public business, it issue two profit warnings, lost 65% of its market value and parted company with its Chief Executive.

However, after a shake-up in strategy, the company’s revenue increased by 13.5% to £166.2 million during the first half of the year, which company chiefs put down partly to convincing customers to use it as a one-stop shop, boosting training revenues in particular.

Chief Executive, John Gill, commented: “Customers are increasingly seeing HSS as a single-source provider of tools, equipment and related services and our trading growth reflects this.”

However, an analyst at JPMorgan, Alexander Mees, expressed concern that a dependence on lower margin services for revenue growth would put pressure on the company’s profitability.

The company’s shares closed more than 8% lower at 78 pence in London.


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