United Rentals last week posted a 23 percent year-over-year increase in diluted earnings for the third quarter, rising from $0.79 per share in the third quarter of 2006 to $0.97 this year. Income from continuing operations jumped 26 percent in the third quarter to $111 million, compared with $88 million for the same period last year.
EBITDA improved by $20 million to $342 million, a quarterly record for the Greenwich, Conn.-based rental firm. Equipment rental revenue for the third quarter was $719 million, up 3.8 percent from $693 million for last year’s quarter. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, rental volume was $1.95 billion, compared to $1.87 billion for the same period last year, a 3.9-percent boost.
Total volume for the third quarter was $994 million, up 1.1 percent from $983 million in last year’s third quarter, while total revenue for the first nine months of the year increased 3.7 percent year over year from $2.7 billion to $2.8 billion.
Gross profit increased 2.2 percent for the third quarter from $371 million in the third quarter of 2006 to $379 million this year, while nine-month gross profit increased 2.9 percent from $942 million to $969 million.
Time utilization, on a larger fleet, improved 4.0 percentage points, offsetting a 2.0-percent decline in rental rates. Same-store rental revenue increased 2.8 percent year over year, while return on invested capital improved 0.4 percentage points year over year.
“These strong third-quarter results reflect the intense focus and great energy of our employees in pursuing our core rental business as profitably as possible,” said CEO Michael Kneeland. “We realized improvement in several key financial metrics, including earnings per share, EBITDA, time utilization, and return on invested capital. At the same time, our ongoing initiatives to reduce costs are clearly succeeding. We look forward to the additional opportunities created by new ownership when the anticipated sale of the company to Cerberus is completed.”
The company announced it had signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliated of Cerberus on July 23. A special meeting of stockholders approved the merger agreement on Oct. 19. The company currently expects the transaction to close around Nov. 16.
United Rentals is No. 1 on the RER 100, with more than 690 locations in 48 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.