U.S. Markets closed

H&E 2Q profit jumps as rental fleet and rates grew

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- H&E Equipment Services Inc.'s shares soared Thursday after it said that stronger demand, higher prices and a larger fleet helped to nearly quadruple its second-quarter profit.

The company, which provides industrial equipment such as cranes, platform lifts and earthmovers, earned $10.5 million, or 30 cents per share, for the period that ended June 30. That's up from $2.7 million, or 8 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

H&E's total revenue increased 13 percent to $209 million on improved equipment rentals, equipment sales and service revenue.

Analysts expected 22 cents per share on revenue of $207.6 million, according to FactSet.

CEO John Engquist said there was solid demand in all of its markets, particularly the Gulf Coast where energy-related activity is healthy. The company also saw modest recovery in commercial construction activity. Rental revenue was up about 26 percent on a bigger fleet of equipment and higher rates.

"While the overall economic environment is hard to predict, the trends in the markets we serve remain positive and the momentum in our business is continuing," Engquist said in a statement.

H&E, based in Baton Rouge, La., has 64 facilities across the country. It plans to open two new locations in Texas and is looking at more expansion.

Shares jumped $2.39, or 17 percent, to close at $16.43. The stock has traded between $6.80 and $21 in the past 52 weeks.