United Rentals Earnings Call Nuggets: Mix Impact and Growth Outlook

United Rentals (NYSE:URI) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Mix Impact

Seth Weber – RBC Capital: Bill, thanks for the walk. That was very helpful. Just going back to that. I mean how should we think about the mix and the ancillary revenue headwinds going forward? Should that start to abate or is that going to continue to be negative $10 million, $15 million a quarter going forward?

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William B. Plummer – EVP and CFO: Seth, I guess maybe what I can usefully say is a comment about the full year rather than the quarter by quarter. I think you’ll remember we said back in January that we expected the full-year mix impact to be something like 1.5% on the full year. I think it’s fair to say now that the mix will be a little bit more than that, more of a headwind than that during the course of the year. It will be less than it was last year. I think it was 5.1% last year, so somewhere between 5.1% and 1.5% is where we’ll end up over the course of the year. And I’ll leave it to your own imagination as to how you parse it out across the quarters, but that’s the overall mix, by the way. That’s including all of the effects, the $10 million that I gave here was just the day, week and month component of mix, and you got a mixture that you make that distinction. But overall, we think it will be something a little bit more negative than 1.5, but less negative than 5.1.

Seth Weber – RBC Capital: And then, with the pull forward of the CapEx into the second quarter, the $6 million, how should we think about I assume free cash flow would be negative in the quarter. Can you frame the order of magnitude we should be thinking about for free cash flow use in the second quarter?

William B. Plummer – EVP and CFO: I’d rather not. We get that granular on the timing of free cash flow through the quarter. The $6 million of if we deliver that and if you assume that we have a payables payable terms with our vendors, they are somewhere in the 60 day area, that can give you a rough idea of the impact that we would see in the second quarter, so I’ll stop there, Seth.

Seth Weber – RBC Capital: Can I slide another one in then? It sounds like you are suggesting that there could be some specialty you are talking about expanding your specialty footprint. I mean is that going to be organic or you think that will be acquisition and is that does your guidance include some acquisitions for this year in the specialty rental business?

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Michael J. Kneeland – President and CEO: This is Mike, and it’s organic. What we have gotten there is baked into our plan, we are going to be opening up some locations in all three segments, Trench, Power, HVAC, and also in our tools which is all organic. We haven’t baked in any assumptions for acquisitions at this point.

 

Growth Outlook

Scott Schneeberger – Oppenheimer: With regard to the additional sales force, could you take us a level deeper there. You mentioned unassigned accounts. Is that predominantly where it’s going to be can be? Is it going to be some in national and strategic as well and just kind of the productivity curve you expect from these sales people being added?

Matthew Flannery – EVP and COO: This is Matt, Scott. Primarily, this will be local reps. We feel very comfortable with the output from our strategic account managers and that part of our sales team. We just want to and this has been built into our plan. We just want to pivot from the integration period where we were stabilizing and really focused on harmonizing contracts and all the things that went with our sales efforts last year and pivot to growth mode. There is a portion of these sales reps that’s more R&D, but as we continue to grow in 2014 and beyond, we think it’s appropriate to add to our sales force to help facilitate that growth.

Scott Schneeberger – Oppenheimer: Then one more, if I could, on the 10 to 14 regions that were positive, could you I guess specifically on the four that were not in the quarter, were those northern regions? Could you kind of address where the weakness was and what you expect from most regions and overall progression over the year?

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Matthew Flannery – EVP and COO: Yeah. I don’t want to point to the specific region, but I will say we all know where the weather-related markets are in the northeastern half of the continent and the Midwest as well. So that’s where our issues were. To be clear, some of them were only down by less than 0.5 point, but nonetheless for transparency, they were negative. We don’t expect any of those regions to not show positive year-over-year growth by the end of the year.

A Closer Look: United Rentals Earnings Cheat Sheet>>