Essex Rental Corp. this week announced first-quarter 2013 total revenue, excluding proceeds from the divestiture of aerial work platform assets, for the three-month period ended March 31, increased by $4.5 million or 22.5 percent to $24.6 million compared to $20.1 million for the three-month period ended March 31, 2012 and increased 7.4 percent from $22.9 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2012.

Equipment rental revenue in the quarter increased by $1.2 million or 11.7 percent to $11.5 million compared to $10.3 million for the year-ago quarter. For the third consecutive quarter, utilization for all rental asset categories increased on a year-over-year basis. Crawler crane utilization increased to 43.9 percent in Q113 compared to 37.0 percent in Q112. 

Average monthly rental rates for crawler cranes increased by $742 or 4.6 percent to $16,975 in the quarter from $16,233 last year.

Adjusted EBITDA before non-cash compensation and non-recurring expenses increased 68.7 percent to $4.4 million compared to $2.6 million for the first quarter of 2012. Adjusted EBITDA before non-cash compensation and non-recurring expenses for the trailing 12-month period ended March 31, increased by $9.5 million or 99.6 percent to $19.0 million from $9.5 million for the trailing 12-month period ended March 31, 2012.

“While our results are encouraging, I believe that we are still in the early stages of what will be a gradual recovery in utilization and rental rates for all of the assets that we rent,” said Ron Schad, president and CEO. “We are pleased with the year-over-year improvements we experienced in both our equipment rentals segment and our equipment distribution segment. As expected, the first-quarter 2013 results were marginally negatively impacted by seasonality as our first quarter is generally our weakest quarter of our fiscal year.

“Utilization and average monthly rental rates across all of our asset categories increased on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2013. Within our crawler crane fleet, we are encouraged by the utilization trends for our hydraulic heavy lift crawler cranes. These hydraulic crawler cranes have higher dollar rental rates and account for approximately 70 percent of the value of our crawler crane fleet and approximately 50 percent of the value of our total fleet. Utilization for our fleet of heavy lift hydraulic crawler cranes for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 was 60.5 percent and has now been above 60 percent for the past 3 quarters. Furthermore, utilization of this asset class has increased in each month this year and is currently in excess of 69 percent. While quoting activity related to contractors that have been awarded construction projects has been lower than our expectations thus far in 2013, our win rate on these quotes has been better than expected. We will continue to closely monitor quoting activity as we believe it is an important indicator of future business performance.”

Equipment rentals segment revenues were $17.8 million in the first quarter versus $18.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Equipment rentals segment revenues include rental, transportation, used rental equipment sales, and repairs and maintenance of rental equipment. Excluding proceeds from the divestiture of aerial work platform assets of $0.4 million and $3.6 million for the three-month periods ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively, equipment rentals segment revenues increased 20.2 percent or $2.9 million. This increase is due to a $1.2 million increase in equipment rental revenues driven by higher utilization and average rental rates for all core asset categories and a $1.7 million increase in rental equipment sales, excluding the sale of aerial work platform assets.

“Thus far in the second quarter of 2013, we are continuing to experience a gradual increase in utilization as compared to the first quarter of 2013,” Schad said. “Our focus for the remainder of 2013 will be on maximizing the return on invested capital of our rental fleet through increased utilization and rental rates, increasing parts, service and equipment distribution sales volume and identifying additional opportunities to become more efficient and profitable in all of the services that we provide to our customers.”

The company reaffirmed its previously provided guidance and expects EBITDA before non-cash compensation expenses for the year ended Dec. 31, to be in the range of $21 million to $26 million.

Based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Essex Crane Rental Corp. is No. 44 on the new RER 100.