H&E Equipment "very positive about 2008"

By Murray Pollok12 May 2008

H&E Equipment Services said demand for its rental equipment remained solid, except for weakness in the West Coast, Florida and mid-Atlantic markets. The company said the softness in these markets was now stabilizing.

H&E said it remained “very positive about 2008” and reconfirmed its 2008 outlook, with forecast revenues of $1.13 to $1.16 billion (an increase of 13-16% over 2007).

Rental revenues increased 12.7% to $71.2 million, including a $2.7 million contribution from the recently acquired JW Burress Inc business in the mid-Atlantic states. Rental growth was 17.7% in its “solid” areas, including Intermountain, Southwest and Gulf Coast areas.

Total group revenues increased 17.2% to $245.8 million, with profits before depreciations (EBITDA) rising 7.8% to $56.4 million.

"Our first quarter performance was strong and exceeded our expectations due to our continued concentration on high growth industries and regions. Despite the continued softness in our Mid-Atlantic, Southern California and Florida regions combined with seasonal weather issues, we achieved solid growth in revenue and EBITDA," said John Engquist, H&E Equipment Services' president and chief executive officer.

"Demand for our equipment and services remains strong in our Gulf Coast and Intermountain regions as the petrochemical, oil patch, energy and mining industries continue to prosper. Prices for oil, coal, precious metals and other commodities are at record levels and we expect continued growth within these industries well into the future.

“Furthermore, we believe a significant opportunity exists for our Gulf Coast operations as the monies budgeted for Katrina-related hurricane storm protection and rebuilding work begin to be spent. Estimated construction costs for these efforts are as much as $10 billion."

H&E Equipment is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and as well as rental operations also has a significant new equipment sales business.
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