QTS, the rail maintenance firm that Scots entrepreneur Alan McLeish sold for £80m last year, has helped its new owners achieve record trading results.

Renew highlighted the contribution made by Lanarkshire-based QTS as it posted a 40 per cent increase in underlying operating profits, to £18.4 million in the six months to March 31.

Chief executive Paul Scott noted the success Renew has achieved in the rail market following the integration of QTS, which gave the firm a big position in the sector.

The sale of QTS in May last year confirmed Mr McLeish’s reputation as one of Scotland’s most successful business builders.

It came some 27 years after he founded the business as Quality Tree Surgeons with £300 borrowed from his mother to buy a chainsaw.

After winning its first contract from British Rail, QTS diversified from helping rail operators to control vegetation to providing a wider range of support services.

In January QTS won a £100m contract from Network Rail to work on projects across Scotland under a five year Geotech framework deal.

Mr Scott noted spending on the rail network is set to increase strongly.

Employee numbers at QTS have increased by 10%, to 381, since Leeds-based Renew bought the business.