BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. — Essex Crane Rental Corp., including its subsidiary Coast Crane Rental posted $16.6 million in equipment rental revenue in the fourth quarter, an increase of 36 percent compared with $12.2 million in the year-ago period. For the full year, the company posted $58.9 million, compared with $38.3 million a year ago, an increase of 53.8 percent, although largely attributed to the addition of Coast.

Total revenue jumped 46.1 percent in the fourth quarter to $22.5 million, compared with $15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. For the full year, total revenue more than doubled, from $41.5 million in 2010 to $89.6 million in 2011.

Crawler crane utilization increased to 39.8 percent for 2011, compared with 37.5 percent in 2010. Average monthly crawler crane rental rates increased by $523 to $16,391 for the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. Crawler crane utilization dropped slightly quarter over quarter from 39.5 percent to 38.3 percent.

Utilization on Essex' rough-terrain fleet was 62 percent, validating the company's strategy of increasing the number of units in this segment of the company's rental fleet by 25.5 percent over the past year. Utilization rates on self-erecting tower cranes remained relatively flat on a sequential quarter basis, while utilization on larger tower cranes improved 2.5 percent during the same period.

“During the fourth quarter of 2011, we generated results that were consistent with the business levels that we experienced throughout the entire year,” said Essex president and CEO Ron Schad. “Rental rates continue to be stable and on a full-year basis we achieved a 2.3-percent increase in crawler crane utilization. We are continuing to focus on selling rental fleet assets with low utilization such as certain classes of crawler cranes and other non-core assets with shorter economic lives, which we believe generate a return of capital instead of a return on capital. These non-core assets that were acquired as part of the Coast acquisition include aerial work platforms and forklifts. Following the implementation of our IT systems at Coast, we commenced a number of proactive initiatives aimed at enhancing both our equipment rental and our parts and service profitability. We have also successfully completed the consolidation of Coast's finance and accounting functions within our Buffalo Grove, Ill., headquarters. We expect that this consolidation will generate approximately $350,000 in annual savings.”

Schad added that he expects increasing rental revenue in 2012 based on its current order backlog.

Essex Crane Rental is No. 61 on the RER 100.