Ashtead, a FTSE-listed company, is considering a £25bn transfer to the US as a new blow to London

One of Britain’s most prominent blue-chip firms is considering a move from London to New York, which would be the biggest blow to the London Stock Exchange yet.

Ashtead is a FTSE 100 company that specializes in plant hire. It is currently evaluating whether it should switch its listing from the UK stock exchange to the US market, where its main business is based.

This review will come as a shock to officials at the Square Mile, after Ashtead had previously pledged that it would remain on Britain’s list.

The company is believed to have instructed City advisors to examine the merits and feasibility of such a change.

The move comes as UK companies with large American operations are increasingly looking to leave the City in the hope of a boost in value from a move to Wall Street.

CRH, the cement maker, and Ferguson, a plumbing company, are among those who have left or applied for a secondary listing.

Ashtead provides heavy machinery, including cranes, excavators, and scaffolding to the construction industry.

It is ranked in the top quartile in the UK of publicly listed companies, directly behind NatWest on the FTSE 100 market cap.

City sources say that despite the fact that the board led by Paul Walker is expected to be slow in making a decision, there are a number of factors which favour a transatlantic switch.

In 2018, Ashtead generated a near-11bn-pound turnover, with 90pc coming from North America. This is up from 80pc by 2022.

It is the second largest equipment rental company in the US.

The company also operates in Canada and the UK where the growth rate is slower than the US.

Ashtead stated in March that it expects revenue growth between 11pc and 13pc between the US and Canada. In the UK, the figure is between 6pc-9pc.

Ashtead is also a major beneficiary of Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which made nearly $370bn available in tax breaks and subsidy for green energy projects.

Brendan Horgan, Chief Executive of the company, has said that the company is winning business related to mega-projects like “new electric vehicles manufacturing plants and battery gigafactories that support this [and] liquid gas plants that are currently being built”.

Julia Hoggett is the chief executive officer of the London Stock Exchange Group. She has attributed the exodus to higher salaries for British executives and businesses across the Atlantic.

According to the US trade unions’ federation AFL-CIO, bosses at S&P500 US companies earn an average of $16.7m (£13.1m ), three times more than those in the UK.

Mr Horgan is an American who has had his share of pay disputes. Ashtead suffered a number of shareholder revolts over Mr Horgan’s remuneration in recent years. He earned PS6.4m by 2023.

When asked about the possibility of an Ashtead move to the US in March last year, Mr Horgan replied that Ashtead’s stock market listing is “a topic the board reviews periodically”. He said that the company “remains a FTSE component” but he was not sure if it would be a US move.

“In the interim, I would rather focus on the growth of the business.” This is the only way I can guarantee to add value to all our stakeholders. It is also what motivates me in the morning.

Horgan reiterated his support for London in June. He told the Evening Standard, “We are happy with where we are.” We have not been hindered by our listing domicile in London from executing the strategy.

A spokesperson for the company stated: “Ashtead regularly reviews its capital structure, including its domicile. Recognizing the fact that 90% of its business is located in the USA.”

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