NationsRent Doubles '98 Revenue, Buys F.W. Gartner of Texas

HOUSTON - NationsRent has acquired F.W. Gartner Co., which had been one of Texas' largest remaining independent rental firms, RER has learned. Terms of the transaction, which closed March 10, were not disclosed.

Former owner George Gartner III was the latest in a line of Gartners to own the family business, which was founded in 1923.

F.W. Gartner, which featured a wide inventory and an award-winning Web site, was No. 83 on last year's RER 100, with 1998 rental volume of $7.4 million. It had three branches here, two in Corpus Christi and one in Victoria, Texas.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Nations-Rent, No. 8 on the RER 100, has made six transactions this year, adding 17 locations to the company network.

In financial news, NationsRent reported that it more than doubled 1998 revenue last year to $558.4 million, including $170.9 million in the fourth quarter, a 38 percent increase from the same period in 1998.

Net income for 1999 was $34.2 million, or 52 cents a diluted share, compared with $12.7 million, or 37 cents a diluted share, in 1998.

For the year, NationsRent's operating margins were 22.5 percent of revenue as it achieved more than 26 percent internal rental revenue growth.

"Our emphasis in 1999 was on integrating our operations to deliver a consistent level of products and customer service," said chairman and CEO James Kirk. "We also launched our national retail branding strategy...designed to increase awareness, trial and usage of NationsRent products and services."

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