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United Rentals returns to 2Q profit, keeps view

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- United Rentals Inc. said Tuesday that it returned to a second-quarter profit as the equipment rental company benefited from the rebounding construction market and a year-ago acquisition.

But the company didn't increase its sales guidance for the year, and shares slipped in aftermarket trading.

For the three months ended June 30, net income totaled $83 million, or 78 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $52 million, or 63 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Excluding one-time items mainly related to the $2.53 billion acquisition of rival RSC Holdings in April 2012, per-share earnings grew to $1.12 from 66 cents. Analysts expected 99 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 22 percent, to $1.21 billion from $993 million. Analysts expected $1.22 billion. If RSC's sales are included for all of the year-ago period as well as the most recent quarter, rental revenue rose nearly 5 percent.

United Rentals, with more than 824 locations in the U.S. and Canada, calls itself the largest equipment rental company in the world. Like other rental equipment companies, it has been hit hard in recent years by the downturn in the construction industry. The start of a construction recovery and a recent trend toward renting, rather than owning, equipment appear to have boosted United Rentals' prospects.

Buying RSC also increased United Rentals' share of the rental equipment market, giving it a greater presence in industrial, maintenance and non-residential construction markets.

CEO Michael Kneeland kept the company's revenue guidance of $4.9 billion to $5.1 billion, which was first issued in January. Analysts expect $5.01 billion.

Shares fell 88 cents, or 1.7 percent, to %50.10 in aftermarket trading, after ending the day down $1.24, or 2.4 percent, to $50.98. The stock has traded between $26.88 and $59.74 in the past 52 weeks.