Essex Rental Corp. this week announced first-quarter equipment rentals segment revenues were $18.1 million, a 36.8-percent increase versus $13.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011. Equipment rentals segment revenues, which represent 76.3 percent of total revenues, include rental, transportation, used rental equipment sales and repairs and maintenance of rental equipment. The company attributed the year-over-year increase in equipment rentals segment revenues to a $4.9 million increase in used rental equipment sales.
Equipment distribution revenue, which includes the retail distribution of new and used equipment, was $0.9 million in the quarter compared to $3.7 million a year ago. Parts and service revenue was $4.7 million or 19.8 percent of total revenues compared to $4.5 million or 21.1 percent of total revenues for the first quarter of 2011.
“During the first quarter of 2012 we continued to see positive trends in our rental and service segments,” said Ron Schad, president and CEO of Essex. “Rental rates remain stable and, in certain asset types including heavy lift rough terrain equipment and certain crawler crane classes we have achieved utilization levels that provide us the opportunity to increase rental rates.
“We are experiencing increased demand from energy- and petrochemical-related customers located in the Gulf Coast region, central California and in the Pacific Northwest. We were pleased with the level of rental fleet asset sales, particularly of non-core assets including aerial work platforms and forklifts that were acquired as part of the Coast acquisition. Both our improving utilization trends and progress in our rental asset sale program have continued into our second quarter. The implementation of the new IT system at Coast has allowed us to proactively manage this business unit more effectively and in conjunction with increased utilization we experienced a meaningful improvement in Coast’s operating performance in the first quarter of 2012.”
Total EBITDA in the quarter, excluding non-cash compensation and non-recurring expenses of approximately $1.0 million in both periods, increased by 21.9 percent to $2.6 million compared to $2.1 million for the year-ago quarter.
In the first quarter, average monthly crawler crane rental rates increased by $717 to $16,233 from $15,516 for the first quarter 2011. Utilization of the rough-terrain fleet was 54.8 percent, which represented a sequential quarterly increase in utilization of 3.0 percent. Utilization of larger tower cranes and elevator lifts improved by 10.6 percent on a sequential quarterly basis and on certain tower crane sub-classes utilization is above 60.0 percent, the company said.
New, used and rental equipment sales totaled $6.2 million in 1Q12, a 50.8-percent increase from $4.1 million for the three-month period ended March 31, 2011.
“Lastly, a series of recently implemented operating initiatives at Coast are providing us with much greater business visibility,” said Schad. “We are now able to track rental rates and margins on a real-time basis and have successfully completed a series of cost reduction actions. As a result of these initiatives we are seeing consistent month-over-month improvements in operating results particularly as compared to the same time period in 2011. We believe the improvement in operating results relative to 2011 will be apparent throughout the remainder of 2012. ”
Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Essex Crane Rental Corp. is No. 28 on the new RER 100.