U-Haul Parent Amerco's Earnings Move Slightly Higher

U-Haul parent Amerco (NASDAQ: UHAL) reported its fiscal first-quarter 2020 results after the market closed on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

The market's reaction was muted, to say the least, with shares inching down 0.1% the day after the earnings announcement.

Here's how the quarter worked out for the do-it-yourself (DIY) moving leader and growing self-storage player, which also has two insurance company subsidiaries.

A young woman and young man, who are carrying a sofa, standing next to an open-backed van with a house in background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Amerco earnings: The raw numbers

Metric Fiscal Q1 2020 Fiscal Q1 2019 Change
Revenue $1.08 billion $1.02 billion 5.9%
GAAP operating income $213.9 million $204.7 million 4.5%
GAAP net income $132.4 million $127.8 million 3.6%
GAAP EPS $6.76 $6.53 3.5%

Data source: Amerco. Fiscal first quarter 2020 ended June 30. GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles. EPS = earnings per share.

There are only two Wall Street analysts who provided estimates, so the consensus estimates have even less value than usual for long-term investors. (The Street has a short-term focus.) That said, for context, analysts were looking for EPS of $7.60 on revenue of $1.05 billion. So Amerco fell short of the profit expectation but beat on the top line.

What happened with Amerco in the quarter?

  • Revenue in the U-Haul segment, which accounted for about 93% of the company's total revenue, increased 5.5% year over year to $1.00 billion. Last quarter, this core segment's revenue grew 7.6%, so revenue growth decelerated.
  • Revenue in the insurance segment (comprised of one property-casualty and one life insurance company) rose 9.3% to $80.6 million. (Revenue from the two segments adds up to slightly more than the company's total reported revenue, due to the effect of a small revenue elimination that excludes the sale of goods and services between the two business units.)
  • Within the U-Haul segment, self-moving equipment rental revenue grew 4.5% to $748.6 million. Both truck and trailer rentals improved.
  • Within the U-Haul segment, self-storage revenue jumped 14% to $98.3 million.
  • Self-storage room count grew to about 452,000 at the end of the quarter, compared to approximately 383,000 at the end of the year-ago period.
  • Average occupancy rate based on room count was 68.4%, down from 69.6% in the year-ago quarter.
  • DIY moving and self-storage product and service revenue edged up 1% to $80.0 million, while property management fees fell 3.5% to $7.2 million. These are fees the company collects from managing self-storage units owned by others.
  • The U-Haul segment's operating income came in at $201.9 million, up 0.7% from the year-ago period.
  • The insurance segment's operating income soared 167% to $12.2 million, thanks to big improvements in the performances of both insurance company subsidiaries. (Operating income from the two segments adds up to slightly more than the company's total reported operating income due to the effect of the small revenue elimination previously mentioned.)

What management had to say

Here's what CEO Joe Shoen had to say in the earnings release:

Modest revenue gains in the equipment rental business reflect continued demand for self-move equipment. Self-storage revenues continue to improve as we fill units and should continue to do so. The self-storage market is very competitive and we are competing.

Looking ahead

Reiterating what I wrote last quarter, "Amerco's financial performance isn't back to its level of a few years ago. However, its year-over-year profitability improved in the quarter thanks to a combination of solid revenue growth in its core U-Haul business and operating costs being kept under better control."

As to controlling operating costs, the company's fleet maintenance and repair costs decreased $2.5 million in the quarter compared to the year-ago period.

Amerco doesn't provide guidance.

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Beth McKenna has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amerco. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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