Presenting on today's call are Greg Swienton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Robert Sanchez, President and Chief Operating Officer; and Art Garcia, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, Dennis Cooke, President of Global Fleet Management Solutions; and John Williford, President of Global Supply Chain Solutions, are on the call today and available for questions following the presentation.With that, let me turn it over to Greg. Gregory T. Swienton Thanks, Bob. Good morning, everyone. Today, we'll recap our first quarter 2012 results, review the asset management area and discuss our current outlook for the business. And then after our initial remarks, we will open up the call for questions. So let me get right into an overview of our first quarter results and beginning on Page 4 for those of you who are following on the PowerPoint. Net earnings per diluted share from continuing operations were $0.68 for the first quarter in 2012, up from $0.50 in the prior year period. The first quarter results included a $0.09 net benefit related to the resolution of a tax matter, partially offset by a restructuring charge related to the Hill Hire acquisition. The prior year's first quarter included a $0.01 acquisition-related restructuring charge. So excluding these items in each period, comparable EPS was $0.59 in the first quarter 2012, up from $0.51 in the prior year. This is an improvement of $0.08 or 16% over the prior year period. First quarter EPS was slightly above the high end of our forecast range of $0.55 to $0.58. Overall results in Fleet Management were generally in line with our expectations and benefited from accretive acquisitions, organic growth of the lease fleet, strong Used Vehicle sales and higher commercial rental performance. Supply chain generated better-than-expected earnings improvement, driven by higher volumes and new business.
Total revenue grew 8% from the prior year. Operating revenue, which excludes the FMS fuel and all subcontracted transportation revenue, increased 9% from the prior year. The increase in revenue reflects both the benefit of organic growth and acquisitions.Page 5 include some additional financial statistics for the first quarter. The average number of diluted shares outstanding for the quarter declined slightly to 50.9 million. During the first quarter, we purchased approximately 223,000 shares at an average price of $53.38 under our $2 million share anti-dilutive program, which expires in December 2013. As of March 31, there were 51.3 million shares outstanding, of which 50.9 million are currently included in the diluted share calculation. The first quarter 2012 tax rate was 26.9%, which reflects the favorable resolution of a tax matter related to prior years. The prior year's tax rate was 40.7%, which was negatively impacted last year by a tax law change in Illinois. Excluding the tax benefit item in 2012, comparable tax rate would have been 37.1% versus last year's rate of 40.7%. The adjusted return on capital was 5.6% versus 5.1% in the prior year, as growth in earnings outpaced growth in capital. We have a positive spread between adjusted return on capital and cost of capital of 30 basis points for the trailing 12 months, and this represents an improvement in the spread of approximately 100 basis points from the prior year. I'll turn now to Page 6 to discuss some of the key trends we saw during the first quarter in each of the business segments. In Fleet Management, total revenue grew 9% versus the prior year. Total FMS revenue includes a 7% increase in fuel services revenue, reflecting higher fuel cost pass-throughs. FMS operating revenue, which excludes fuel, grew 10%, mainly due to the Hill Hire acquisition and higher organic Commercial Rental and Full Service Lease revenue. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com