United Rentals’ First Quarter Rental Revenue Jumps 9.7 Percent

United Rentals today posted $1.178 billion in revenue for the first quarter compared to $1.1 billion for last year’s first quarter, a 7-percent year-over-year increase. Rental revenue topped $1 billion for the quarter at $1.005 billion, up from $916 million in the year-ago quarter, a 9.7-percent hike.

On a GAP basis, United reported net income of $60 million, or $0.56 per diluted share compared to $21 million or $0.19 per diluted share a year ago.

Within rental revenue, owned equipment rental revenue increased 9.1 percent, reflecting year-over-year increases of 7.6 percent in volume of equipment on rent and 4.3 percent in rental rates.

United Rentals reaffirmed its outlook for a full-year increase in rental rates of about 4 percent and full-year total revenue in a range of $5.45 billion to $5.65 billion. Adjusted EBITDA was $519 million, with adjusted EBITDA margin of 44.1 percent, a first-quarter record for the company. It is an EBITDA increase of $68 million year over year, and a hike of 310 basis points.

Time utilization increased to 64.6 percent. The company generated $110 million of proceeds from used equipment sales at an adjusted gross margin of 49.1 percent, compared with $123 million and 43.9 percent for the same period a year ago.

“We’re off to a strong start in 2014, with notable year-over-year growth in rates, time utilization and volume,” said CEO Michael Kneeland. “Our adjusted EBITDA margin improved to over 44 percent, a first quarter record. Despite the headwind of a harsh winter, we strategically managed our business to capitalize on pockets of opportunity. We now see solid demand in almost every market, giving us further confidence in our full year outlook.

“The feeling in the field is upbeat. Our customers and managers are bullish about business prospects, including the long-awaited recovery in commercial construction. We plan to leverage our scale in this environment and bring in about $750 million of fleet in the second quarter. The integration of our National Pump acquisition is going well, and we’ve opened three new specialty branches in trench safety, power and HVAC. These are just a few of our many growth initiatives that will drive our short- and long-term performance.”

Return on invested capital was 7.8 percent for the 12 months ended March 31, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the same period a year ago.

United Rentals, based in Stamford, Conn., is No. 1 on the RER 100 and has 876 rental locations in 49 states and 10 Canadian provinces.

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