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United Rentals Narrows Range of Full-Year 2008 Outlook

United Rentals last week narrowed its outlook range for full-year 2008 earnings per share to $2.65 to $2.85, maintaining the low end of the company’s previously announced EPS outlook range of $2.65 to $2.85. Total revenue guidance was narrowed to $3.3 billion to $3.4 billion from the previous guidance of $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion, because of lower than expected rental revenue.

Also, the company narrowed its outlook for full-year EBITDA to $1.15 billion to $1.17 billion, thus expecting the lower range of its previously stated expectation of $1.15 billion to $1.19 billion. However, United is maintaining its free cash flow outlook of $400 million to $450 million.

The company expects to further update its full-year 2008 outlook when it releases its second-quarter results around July 28.

United Rentals management said it believed it appropriate to provide shareholders with an update in consideration of the anticipated expiration of the company’s previously announced “modified Dutch auction” tender offer, in which United is offering to purchase up to 27.16 million shares of its common stock at $22 to $25 per share.

The full-year 2008 outlook excludes the impact of the previously disclosed second-quarter charge of $14 million related to the ongoing SEC inquiry, the preferred stock repurchase completed June 9 and the share repurchases of its common stock. United also expects to record aggregate charges of $6 million after tax in the second quarter, primarily related to the establishment of a valuation allowance related to certain foreign tax credits.

The company expects the preferred stock repurchase to require recording a one-time charge in the second quarter of about $240 million as a reduction of net income available to common stockholders.

The combined impact of the SEC inquiry charges, foreign tax credit valuation allowance and recapitalization will reduce full-year EBITDA by about $14 million, about $2.50 per share on a GAAP basis.

However, United Rentals believes the completed and planned share repurchases, excluding the one-time charges, represent an opportunity to capture immediate EPS accretion.

Based in Greenwich, Conn., United Rentals is No. 1 on the RER 100.

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