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Shares of CAI International (NYSE: CAI) catapulted 22% by 10:45 a.m. EST on Friday after the container leasing company reported first-quarter results.
CAI International reported $81.5 million in revenue for the quarter, which was up $14.5 million year over year primarily because of acquisitions in its logistics business last year. That said, the company's lease-related revenue edged up 3.7% to $61 million. Driving that improvement was an increase in average container utilization, which was 95.7% during the quarter, up from 92% in the year-ago quarter and 94.3% last quarter.
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In commenting on the quarter in the earnings release, CEO Victor Garcia noted that he was "extremely excited about the improvement in our results this quarter and the prospects for the coming year." Garcia also stated that the results were "particularly noteworthy considering that the first quarter is traditionally our weakest demand period and reflects the strong demand for equipment we are witnessing." Further, he said CAI International believes:
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... the current equipment supply constraints will persist longer than is currently expected or understood, and may have a material effect on the supply and availability of containers to the shipping lines and their customers ... We believe that a potential lack of on-the-ground investment may create a container shortage over the remainder of this year.
CAI International acted on those beliefs by investing $63 million in new containers during the first quarter and committing$56 million to acquire additional containers that should get delivered in the second quarter. The company has already leased those containers at rates that are three times those it booked at this time last year. As a result, the company expects its earnings to accelerate in each of the following quarters in 2017, which could drive its stock even higher.
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