United Rentals halves losses and "outpaces" recovery

By Murray Pollok20 April 2011

United Rentals halved its net losses to US$20 million in the first quarter of 2011 and reported a 9.4% increase in revenues to US$523 million for the period. Rental revenues rose by 14.2% to $434 million.

The company said it had "outpaced [the growth] of our end markets...at a very early stage in the recovery."

United continued to make progress on time utilisation and rental rates. Time utilisation increased by 6.2 percentage points to 62.4% - a record for the company in a first quarter - and rental rates were 4.2% higher than a year ago.

It said utilisation rates were expected to increase by one percentage point in the remainder of the year and rental rates to rise by around 5%.

Michael Kneeland, chief executive officer of United Rentals, said, "We have started the year with a very solid performance that includes rate improvement in all operating regions and record first quarter time utilization, as well as stronger gross margins on every major revenue stream.

"Once again we outpaced our end markets with significant rental revenue growth at a very early stage in the recovery. As demand for our services increases, we are focused on attaining the optimal balance of rate and utilisation to drive returns."

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