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United Rentals Q3 net income up 12.3 pct.

GREENWICH, Conn. -- United Rentals Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter profit rose 12.3 percent as revenue surged amid demand for its industrial and commercial rental equipment.

The company reported net income of $73 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with $65 million, or 91 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2011. An increase in the number of outstanding shares compared with last year limited the increase in per-share earnings.

Greenwich, Conn.-based United Rentals, with more than 800 locations in the U.S. and Canada, calls itself the largest equipment rental company in the world. Like other rental equipment companies, it has been hit hard in recent years by the downturn in the construction industry. The start of a construction recovery and a recent trend toward renting, rather than owning, equipment appear to have boosted United Rentals' prospects.

In April the company completed its acquisition of rival RSC Holdings Inc. in a deal worth about $2.53 billion. That significantly increased United Rentals' share of the rental equipment market, giving it a greater presence in industrial, maintenance and non-residential construction markets. The company previously focused on construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities and home owners.

Revenue in the third quarter jumped 68.3 percent, to $1.22 billion from $713 million a year earlier. Rental revenue advanced 73.8 percent, to $1.05 billion from $604 million.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.08 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion.

The company estimates total revenue for 2012 between $4.6 billion and $4.7 billion, up from $4.13 billion last year.

United Rentals shares rose 52 cents to close at $33.96. They jumped $1.54, to $35.50, in after-hours trading.

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