United Rentals Reports Profit Boost Due to U.S. Tax Reform

By Aisha Al-Muslim Features Dow Jones Newswires

United Rentals Inc. (URI) said its fourth-quarter earnings significantly rose as the equipment-rental company's results were boosted by a $689 million benefit as a result of U.S. tax law changes and higher rental revenue.

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The Stamford, Conn.-based company on Wednesday reported a profit for the fourth quarter of $897 million, or $10.45 a share, up from $153 million, or $1.80 a share, a year earlier. The tax-related benefit added $8.03 a share to United Rentals's earnings.

Total revenue jumped 26% to $1.92 billion, driven by a 27% increase in rental revenue.

Excluding one-time items, United Rentals earned $11.37 a share, compared with $2.67 a share a year ago. Excluding the estimated benefit from the tax reform, adjusted EPS for the quarter would have been $3.34. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of $3.28 a share on $1.88 billion in revenue.

For full year 2017, the company had a profit of $1.37 billion, or $15.73 a share, compared with $566 million, or $6.45 a share, a year earlier. Revenue for the year was $6.64 billion compared with $5.76 billion for 2016.

Excluding one-time items, United Rentals earned $18.64 a share for the year, compared with $8.65 for 2016. Excluding the estimated $8.05 a share benefit associated with the tax overhaul, adjusted per-share earnings for 2017 would have been $10.59. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of $10.44 a share on $6.59 billion in revenue for the year.

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In 2018 the company expects to have an effective tax rate of about 25% and generate $7.3 billion to $7.6 billion in revenue. The company estimates that the tax law changes will benefit its 2018 free cash flow by at least $250 million.

The stock fell 0.7% to $184.30 in after-hours trading. Shares are up 63% in the last year.

Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at aisha.al-muslim@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 24, 2018 17:39 ET (22:39 GMT)