UPDATE 1-H&E Equipment Q4 loss widens

Thu Mar 4, 2010 7:50am EST

* Q4 net loss $0.35/shr vs year-ago $0.02/shr

* Revenue falls 47 pct

* Sees improvement in latter half of 2010

March 4 (Reuters) - H&E Equipment Services Inc (HEES.O) posted a wider quarterly loss as equipment rentals and new equipment sales fell sharply.

H&E is focused on heavy construction and industrial equipment, and provides parts and services for cranes, industrial lift trucks and earthmoving equipment.

"We fully expected a challenging quarter and we saw little to no improvement in the segments of the economy that drive demand for our products and services," Chief Executive John Engquist said.

Engquist said improvement in its end markets will occur in the latter part of the year as recovery in the sector lags the general economy.

For the fourth quarter, the company's net loss was $12.1 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with a loss of $635,000, or 2 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 47 percent to $137.7 million.

New equipment sales declined 63 percent, while equipment rentals fell 42 percent.

Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 10 cents a share, on revenue of $157.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company closed at $10.38 Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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