United Rentals’ revenue rises 22% in 1Q 2019; more growth expected

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Updated Apr 30, 2019

United Rentals equipment on construction site

United Rentals posted a 22-percent jump in revenue for the first quarter of 2019 compared to 1Q 2018, and company officials expect more of the same for the rest of the year.

Outgoing CEO Michael Kneeland, speaking during his last earnings report conference call Thursday, praised the company and its employees for the broad-based growth it is experiencing and how it has transformed itself over the past decade. Kneeland will become the company’s non-executive chairman beginning at the May 8 annual stockholders’ meeting.

“I’m pleased that I will step down during a record year of growth and another year of growth well underway,” Kneeland said.

Company president Matthew Flannery, who will succeed Kneeland as CEO, echoed Kneeland’s comments.

“The year is off to a solid start,” he said.

Along with the total revenue jump, rental revenue rose 23 percent. Flannery noted that poor weather conditions in February put a dent in rentals and the entire construction industry, but many of the construction projects that were delayed have ramped back up.

He also noted that the company’s growth has cut across all segments.

“The growth has been very broad,” he said. “There is no hot pocket we’re relying on.”

The backlog in construction projects, along with customers’ confidence in the year’s outlook, also has given the company reason to expect a strong 2019.

“It’s coast to coast,” Flannery said. “There’s strength throughout our network.”

The company also expects its acquisitions in 2018 to further boost growth. The acquisitions include BlueLine Rental, the company’s second-largest acquisition in its history; BakerCorp, which manufactures tank, pump, filtration and trench shoring rental solutions; and WesternOne Rentals & Sales in Canada.

Flannery said most of work toward integrating the new additions to the company has been completed.

Wall Street also seemed pleased with the company’s performance, with adjusted earnings beating expectations.

United posted adjusted earnings per share of $3.31, a 15 percent increase, and sales of $2.117 billion. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $3.03 a share and $2 billion in sales, according to MarketWatch.