United Rentals last week announced record third-quarter earnings per share of 85 cents, up about 20 percent compared with 71 cents per diluted share in last year’s third quarter. Total revenue of $1.07 billion was a 9.3-percent jump from the $979 million in the same period last year, while rental revenue increased 4.9 percent year over year from $737 million in last year’s third quarter to $773 this year.
Sales of rental equipment soared 42.6 percent year over year, from $61 million to $87 million, while contractor supply sales jumped 22.5 percent from $89 million to $109 million.
Gross profit jumped 13 percent from $345 million to $390 million, operating income made a 24.9 percent year-over-year leap, while net income leaped 25 percent from 76 million to $95 million.
Operating margin in general rentals improved 2.1 percent from 18.5 percent in Q305 to 20.6 percent in Q306. Operating income for trench safety, pump and power was $18 million for the third quarter, unchanged from the same period last year, reflecting the impact of start-up costs on seven new branch locations.
Operating income for traffic control was $8 million for the third quarter, compared with an operating loss of $1 million for the same period last year.
Rental rates increased 5.1 percent year over year for the quarter. The size of the rental fleet, as measured by original equipment cost, was $4.1 billion and the age of the rental fleet was 38 months at the end of the quarter, compared to $3.9 billion and 40 months at year-end 2005, and $4.0 billion and 39 months Sept. 30, 2005.
Cash flow from operations was $237 million for the third quarter compared with $96 million for the same period last year.
“The combination of improved rental rates and excellent profit flow-through resulted in our continued strong performance in the quarter,” said CEO Wayland Hicks. “We also continued our strong contractor-supplies growth, improved our SG&A expense ratio and increased our operating margin to more than 20 percent.”
For the first nine months of 2006, including second-quarter charges, the company reported diluted earnings per share of $1.56, an 18-percent hike compared with the first nine months of 2005, while net income increased 24 percent to $171 million from $138 million for the nine-month period.
Based in Greenwich, Conn., United Rentals is No. 1 on the RER 100.