United Rentals, an equipment rental company, posts adjusted earnings per share of $3.31, beating expectations.

United Rentals ( URI - Get Report) shares were driven up Thursday by strong first-quarter earnings.
 
The equipment rental company was trading up around 7.3% on the New York Stock Exchange to $134.56, after revealing adjusted earnings per share hit $3.31. That beat expectations -- Zacks consensus was for $3.06 -- and was a 15.3% hike over the same time last year.
 
Total revenue also jumped -- by more than 22% -- to more than $2.1 billion. Much of that was thanks to rental revenue that rose by 23% to nearly $1.8 billion.  
 
Expressing pleasure with the quarter's results, Michael Kneeland, chief executive of United Rentals, said in a statement that the company was now entering its "busy season with the strongest service offering in our history." Strategic investments and recent acquisitions, Kneeland suggested, have prepared the company for the upcoming demand. 
 
United Rentals saw a dip in profitability, however, which declined by 4.4% year over year to $175 million. But the company blamed that mostly on interest expenses related to the recent acquisitions of BakerCorp and BlueLine. United Rentals last year bought BlueLine, which is another equipment rental company, and BakerCorp, which specializes in tank, pump, filtration and trench shoring rentals.
 
The company confirmed its 2019 outlook of $9.15 billion to $9.55 billion in total revenue.