H&E  earnings take a fall

Baton Rouge-based heavy equipment provider H&E Equipment Services Inc. reported its third-quarter earnings dipped to $3.7 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $4.8 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.

However, the results included a $10.2 million, one-time charge for refinancing debt and paying $246 million in dividends to shareholders.

Factoring in that cost would have increased H&E’s third-quarter earnings to $10.9 million, or 31 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 34 cents per share on revenue of $212.6 million.

H&E reported revenue of $204.5 million, up 11 percent over the third quarter of 2011.

H&E said its rental fleet revenue jumped 27.2 percent, or $16.6 million, to $77.8 million, thanks to improved rates, a larger fleet ago and strong demand.

Meanwhile, higher crane sales helped lift new equipment sales by 5.3 percent, or $2.5 million, to $49 million.

“Our rental business remained very strong in the third quarter and we believe this is indicative of a secular shift occurring in the market that will continue into 2013,” H&E President and Chief Executive Officer John Engquist said in a news release.

The company invested more than $60 million in the rental fleet, increasing its size by 18 percent to meet increasing demand, Engquist said.

Shares of H&E were down 18 cents or just more than 1 percent, to close at $15.04 Thursday.