United Rentals announced a 15-percent drop in fourth-quarter 2008 total revenue to $791 million from its 4Q07 total of $925 million. Rental revenue of $600 million in the fourth quarter was down 12-percent from $681 million a year ago. For the full year 2008, total revenue was down 11 percent to $3.3 billion from $3.7 billion in 2007. Full-year rental revenue was $2.5 billion, a 4-percent drop from $2.6 billion for the full year 2007.
RSC Equipment Rental posted $1.567 billion in rental revenue in 2008, a 1.6-percent increase compared with 2007, however fourth-quarter rental revenues suffered a 6.9-percent year-over-year decline to $371 million, compared with $399 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. Total revenues for 2008 were $1.765 billion, essentially flat compared with $1.769 billion for 2007. However, fourth-quarter total revenues declined 6.7 percent from $458 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $427 million for Q408.
The company said it experienced a drop in equipment rental activity during the latter part of the fourth quarter in excess of the normal seasonal drop off because of the prevailing business environment across the U.S. economy. Rental rates declined 1.7 percent on a sequential basis from the third quarter and 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Same-store rental revenues declined 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Hertz Global Holdings reported a $1.21 billion fourth-quarter loss, with quarterly revenue dropping 16 percent to $1.79 billion, compared with $2.14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Worldwide equipment rental revenues for the fourth quarter were $370.7 million, down 20.8 percent compared with $468.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. continued to achieve volume growth in Canada, especially western Canada, where oil-industry-related rental activity remains strong although the rate of growth has slowed. Also HERC has continued to improve its diversification into industrial and fragmented sectors of the United States equipment rental market.
Revenues from worldwide equipment rental for the year were $1.66 billion, a 5.6-percent decrease compared with $1.76 billion in 2007. Adjusted pre-tax income for the year was $237.2 million, a 64.1-percent decrease from 2007.
Ashtead, parent company of Sunbelt Rentals and U.K. rental company A-Plant posted a 41-percent loss in pretax profits for its fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 31, although revenue grew 9 percent during the quarter. Underlying pretax profit was £11 million (about U.S. $15.5 million) compared with £18.7 million in the same period last year. Third-quarter revenue was £252.3 million (about U.S. $355.5 million), compared with £230.7 million for the year-ago period.
Sunbelt Rentals' fiscal third-quarter revenue declined 15.1 per-cent from $362.7 million in Q308 to $307.9 in the recently concluded quarter. Sunbelt decreased its fleet size 3 percent while physical utilization dropped from 66 percent in the year-ago quarter to 62 percent. Sunbelt's rental revenues for the nine-month period dropped 3 percent to $1.06 billion.
Aggreko plc posted another record year, with worldwide revenue leaping 36.6 percent to £946.6 million (about U.S. $1.33 billion), compared with £693.2 million in 2007. Trading profit jumped 50.6 percent to £202.2 million (about U.S. $284.4 million).
Aggreko's North America business performed strongly in 2008, with total volume of $386.2 million, a 14.6-percent increase compared with 2007's total volume of $337.1 million. The company said its base business grew 7 percent in a difficult economic climate, with a very strong year for storms-related revenue, which brought in $26 million in revenue, and a big year for cooling towers. The company's Canadian acquisition Power Plus has integrated rapidly and is performing well, Aggreko officials noted.
H&E Equipment Services this month announced operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, including non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges. Revenues decreased 9.6 percent to $261.9 million versus $289.7 million a year ago. Equipment rental revenues decreased 9.5 percent to $70.8 million compared with $78.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Total revenues for the full-year 2008 increased 6.6 percent to $1.1 billion from $1.0 billion in 2007. 2008 revenues included $144.2 million from the Mid-Atlantic region compared to $42.5 million a year ago. Equipment rental revenues increased 3.1 percent to $295.4 million compared with $286.6 million in 2007. 2008 equipment rental revenues included $15.2 million of rental revenues from the Mid-Atlantic region compared to $4.9 million a year ago.
Finning International reported record quarterly revenues of almost CA $1.6 billion (about U.S. $1.27 billion according to current exchange rates) for the fourth quarter of 2008, a 7.3-percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. The jump was driven by strong demand for customer support services, particularly in Canada and South America. However, as a result of non-recurring costs and charges in the fourth quarter of 2008, Finning posted a loss from continuing operations before interest and taxes of CA $84.5 million, and fourth-quarter net loss from continuing operations of CA $106.8 million or 62 cents per diluted share.
Canadian equipment rental volume for 2008 was CA $296.7 million (about U.S. $236 million at current exchange rates), up from CA $290.1 million in 2007.
For the full year of 2008, revenue from continuing operations increased 5.8 percent to almost $6 billion. EBIT of $236.7 million from continuing operations included non-recurring charges. Annual revenue jumped 9.6 percent at Finning's Canadian operations, reflecting growth in most lines of business, particularly new equipment sales and customer support services. The results of 2008 were negatively impacted by higher variable operating costs in part to support the growth in the Alberta oil sands.