H&E boost 4th quarter earnings

A recovering economy and higher construction activity nationally helped Baton Rouge-based H&E Equipment Services boost its fourth-quarter profit to $14.6 million, or 41 cents per share, compared to $10.7 million, or 31 cents per share.

The company, which sells, rents and services heavy construction and industrial equipment, saw fourth-quarter revenue grow 3.8 percent to $259.6 million. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 40 cents per share on revenue of $273.5 million.

H&E’s rental revenue increased 12 percent to $90.4 million, thanks to a larger fleet and higher rates. Used equipment sales jumped 28.9 percent to $38.0 million.

For the year, H&E reported net income rose to $44.1 million, or $1.26 per share, compared to $28.8 million, or 82 cents per share. H&E’s 2013 revenue soared to $987.8 million, compared to $837.3 million a year ago.

Wall Street analysts expected earnings of $1.24 per share on revenue of $1 billion.

Chief Executive Officer John Enggquist said the company’s fourth quarter demonstrated continued across-the-board strength and momentum.

“We believe 2013 was a year of success and our outlook for 2014 is also positive as we believe there will be significant recovery in non-residential construction over the next several years,” Engquist said.

The company expects demand for rental, new and used equipment to continue growing, he said. The industrial markets, particularly the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical, oil patch, refining, manufacturing and related industries will help drive demand. Louisiana and Texas may hit historically high levels in 2014.