US crane rental house Essex Crane reported 2008 revenue from crane rental up 26.6% to US$61.8 million from $48.8 million in 2007.

This increase was attributed as the primary contributor to a 19.2% increase in total rental-related revenue to US$76.9 million from $64.5 million in 2007. This total included rentals, repair, maintenance and transport services but excluded revenue from sales of used equipment.

Rental EBITDA increased 30.2% to $41.8 million in 2008 from $32.1 million in 2007.

Total cost of revenue (excluding costs associated with used rental equipment sales and depreciation expense) was posted as $22.5 million for the year ended 2008 compared to $23.2 million for 2007. Costs of revenues (excluding costs associated with used rental equipment sales and depreciation expense) as a percentage of total revenues (excluding used rental equipment sales) declined to 29.3% for 2008 from 35.9% in 2007.

SG&A expenses, before one time expenses of $5.2 million associated with the sale of Essex Crane to Essex Rental were $10.7 million, or 14.0% of total revenues (excluding sales of used rental equipment), for 2008 against $9.2 million, or 14.3% in 2007.

Fleet changes in 2008 included spending $21.2 million on 18 new heavy lift cranes and attachments and the sale of 23 older, lighter lift capacity cranes and attachments for $8.4 million. The fleet had an average lifting capacity of around 238 US tons at the end of 2008, compared to 229 tons a year earlier.

For the year ended 2008, Essex reported its rental utilization ratio as 72.5% of the total available crane rental days, up from 72.1% in 2007. The average monthly crane rental rate increased 31.4% to $21,382 for 2008, against $16,266 in 2007, according to the company.

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