But the £1.1 million gains from selling off the branches in Crowborough and Canterbury will be almost wiped out by the costs of flood damage at three branches in Uckfield and Lewes in October, estimated at £900,000 before tax relief.
Pre-tax profits for the half-year to September 30 were just over £2 million, compared with £1.077m for 1999 on turnover of £72.7 million. Group chairman Alan Caffyn said: 'In the light of the general trend of reported profits in the sector, I consider this to be a satisfactory result.'
Chief executive Simon Caffyn added: 'The contract hire side of the business is doing quite well. It isn't a large part of the business, and like everyone else has been affected by the fall in residual values, but it's performing well.'