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United Rentals Posts Powerful Third-Quarter Volume and Profitability Jumps

United Rentals posted a 19.1-percent third-quarter year-over-year rental volume increase, with $604 million this year compared with $507 million in last year’s third quarter. Total revenue jumped 17.9 percent, from $605 million in the year-ago quarter and $713 million this year. Gross profit jumped an even more impressive 31.1 percent rising from $209 million in the year-ago quarter to $274 million this year. Adjusted EBITDA was $282 million, an increase of $66 million compared with the same period last year, with adjusted EBITDA margin of 39.6 percent, a record for the company.

Third-quarter net income was $65 million, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared with $23 million a year ago, or $0.33 per diluted shared.

Rental rates increased 7.5 percent compared with last year’s third quarter, with a 15-percent jump in volume of equipment on rent. The company expects a 6-percent rental rate increase for the full year.

Time utilization was 73.5 percent, a 2.2-percentage point year-over-year hike, a record high for United Rentals.

“Our strong performance is evidence of a strategy that has become deeply rooted in our operations,” said United Rentals CEO Michael Kneeland. “The benefits of customer segmentation, price optimization, customer service differentiation and cost efficiency have begun to mesh in all areas of the business. This has put us in a position to act decisively on growth opportunities, such as the $219 million we invested in fleet in the quarter. Not only did this help to strengthen customer relationships and drive revenues, we also realized a historic high adjusted EBITDA margin of 39.6 percent.

“While our customers remain bullish about construction activity next year and there is a deepening belief in rental penetration, our business model provides us with the flexibility to respond, as we have in the past, to anything we may experience in 2012.”

Results for the first nine months of 2011 were also strong, with total revenue of $1,865 million, compared with $1,640 million, a 13.7-percent hike, while rental revenues jumped 16.8 percent from $1,337 million to $1,562 million.

The company has updated its outlook for full-year gross rental purchases, expecting about $775 million with net rental capital expenditures of about $575 million.

Return on expected capital was 5.4 percent for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, an increase of 2.2 percent from the previous year.

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

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