Textainer Invests $506.5 Million in New Boxes

Textainer Invests $506.5 Million in New Boxes

Container lessor Textainer reported higher first quarter profit and said it invested $506.5 million on new dry and refrigerated containers to be delivered during the first half of this year.

The San Francisco-based company said it ordered 166,000 20-foot-equivalent units of new dry containers and 9,000 TEUs of refrigerated containers in the quarter. Its existing fleet of 1.5 million containers totaling 2.4 million TEUs is the largest of any lessor.

The company’s first quarter profit excluding gains and losses on interest rate swaps jumped 39 percent to $45.5 million as revenue increased 31 percent to $91.2 million.

Textainer said its owned container fleet grew 21 percent while per-diem rental rates rose 8.2 percent and container utilization rates rose 8.1 percent, averaging 98.2 percent in the quarter. “We expect utilization to remain in the mid- to high-90 percent range during 2011,” CEO John Maccarone said.

“So far this year, returns of older containers by our customers have been minimal primarily due to the high cost required to buy or lease replacement containers, which has resulted in extensions of expired leases, usually at higher rental rates,” he said.

Container lessors have benefited from tight supply that has boosted lease rates and pushed up prices for new and used containers. Many shipping companies are leasing containers instead of buying as they rebuild their balance sheets after 2009, when container lines lost more than $15 billion.

Other leasing companies also have reported sharply increased first quarter profits. Last month CAI International reported a 282 percent jump in profit on an 82 percent rise in revenue aided by fleet expansion. TAL International reported a 160 percent increase in profit and said it had ordered $450 million worth of containers for delivery this year.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @josephbonney.