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Mobile Mini Stores Up Solid Results

By Dan Caplinger - Oct 24, 2015 at 7:15AM

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The portable storage specialist is still providing the growth that investors are counting on.

Image source: Mobile Mini.

Portable-storage specialist Mobile Mini ( MINI ) has done a good job throughout its history of meeting its customers' needs for ways to keep vital materials safe and secure. Yet in recent months, Mobile Mini stock has fallen prey to the same concerns that many stocks across the market have seen, as worries about how long the U.S. economy can keep plowing forward led to the first stock market correction in a long time.

Coming into Thursday morning's third-quarter financial report, Mobile Mini investors hoped that the company would restoke its growth after slightly disappointing results the previous quarter. For its part, the company topped expectations on both revenue and adjusted earnings, and it seems optimistic about its future prospects.

Let's look more closely at Mobile Mini and what its latest results tell about what it sees going forward.

Mobile Mini gets back on track
Mobile Mini's third-quarter results gave investors most of what they had hoped to see. Total revenue grew about 18% to $133.3 million, which was about $800,000 higher than most of those following the stock had expected from the storage company. After accounting for items like stock-based compensation, adjusted net income climbed about 5% to $16 million, and that produced adjusted earnings of $0.35 per share, a penny better than the consensus forecast among investors.

Looking more closely at Mobile Mini's numbers, the company's core rental business remains the biggest driver of growth, with rental revenue jumping 19% year-over-year. In the portable storage area, revenue rose almost 6%, with the strong dollar costing Mobile Mini about two percentage points of growth. The storage specialist also boosted its rental rates for portable storage by 3.7%, and utilization reached the 70% mark on average for the quarter and climbed even higher to 72.7% by the end of the quarter.

As we've seen in recent quarters, the newer specialty containment segment also kept contributing to Mobile Mini's success. Revenue totaled $27.7 million, up slightly from the second quarter, and adjusted EBITDA of $11.2 million was up 13% sequentially from the previous quarter. Adjusted EBITDA margins for the segment topped the 40% mark, helping to pull Mobile Mini's overall figure up to 39.5%. Margin gains have been instrumental in helping to support earnings even as a considerable increase in depreciation charges weighed on the bottom line.

CEO Erik Olsson touted the positive results, noting that "the momentum we saw in the later part of the second quarter continued into the third quarter, with our North American sales force driving the highest number of quarterly portable storage activations in the Company's history." Olsson also said that industrial customers in its specialty containment business are helping to produce positive results for Mobile Mini in that arena.

What Mobile Mini sees in its future
Even though its investors might express anxiety about the company's recent share price declines, Mobile Mini doesn't seem to think that conditions warrant concern. Indeed, in light of rising utilization rates, the storage specialist has chosen to keep adding personnel to its sales force and also make capital expenditures in order to support fast-growing markets where demand is the highest.

Indeed, Mobile Mini appears to have taken advantage of the poor market conditions to buy back its own shares at bargain prices. It spent $22.3 million on stock buybacks during the quarter, and although Mobile Mini didn't say how many shares it had repurchased, its total share count has fallen over the past year by more than 1.5 million shares on a diluted basis.

Mobile Mini shares reacted favorably to the news, with the stock opening up about 6% to begin the trading day following the announcement before giving back some of those gains. From a longer-term perspective, Mobile Mini is demonstrating the resiliency that investors want to see in adapting to changing economic conditions. As long as it can keep executing on its long-range strategic plans, Mobile Mini looks poised for growth in the years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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