April 18, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 1:57 pm

United Rental's 1Q rises on borrowed-gear demand

Greenwich construction-equipment leasing giant United Rentals Inc., soon to wrap its $4.2 billion takeover of a Canadian rival, returned its first quarter to black as more of its borrowed equipment stayed out longer at higher rental rates -- a further sign of a resurging U.S. construction market, authorities say.

For three months ended March 31, United netted $13 million, or 17 cents a fully diluted share, compared to a net loss of $20 million, or 34 cents a share, the same period a year ago, the company said Wednesday.

First-quarter revenues climbed 25 percent to $656 million vs. 523 million last year. Its revenues includes leasing and sales of equipment.

"Our performance surpassed all prior first quarters, with record time utilization, record fleet growth ...'' CEO Michael Kneeland said in a statement. "Once again, we drove profitable growth faster than the construction recovery.''

If United stockholders vote April 27 to approve its takeover of rival RSC Holdings of Canada, the deal will close three days later, United said.

Kneeland said the merger's benefits include more than $200 million in cost synergies, a larger branch footprint, and deeper penetration into the industrial sector.

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