United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jul 18, 2019 • 11:00 am ET
Jessica T. Graziano
sales as well as the benefit from acquisition synergies. That leaves you with a flow through of right around 60% for the core business and points to strong cost performance for the quarter. And I have to give a shout out to the fields for keeping excellent focus on costs.
As for adjusted EPS, a robust $4.74 in the quarter compared with $3.85 in Q2 of '18. That's an increase of 23%, primarily from better operating performance across the business, including the contribution of our recent acquisitions. Adjusted EPS also was helped this quarter from some discrete tax benefits and lower shares outstanding.
Now let's move to capex and free cash flow. Through the first half of the year, we've brought in just over $1.1 billion in growth capex with $872 million of that having come in during Q2. As you've seen in our guidance update, we expect to trim our original plan for capex by about $150 million at the high end, so we expect to come in between $2.05 billion and $2.15 billion for the year, which compares to $2.1 billion in 2018.
Free cash flow generated through the first six months of the year is very strong, up 11% to $796 million. And just to be clear, that number excludes about $16 million in merger and restructuring payments. So we are on track to deliver our full year expectation, which we've increased in our guidance update. As a reminder, we're now forecasting $1.4 billion to $1.55 billion of free cash flow, which compares to a little over $1.3 billion last year.
Our ROIC for the quarter also strong 10.8%, which meaningfully exceeded our weighted average cost of capital. Year-over-year, tax adjusted ROIC was down 30 basis points. So that expected decline is primarily impacted by the timing drag from our acquisitions. That's going to moderate as we get their operations more fully integrated and synergies from the deals fully realized.
Taking a look at the balance sheet, net debt at June 30 was $11.7 billion. That's an increase of about $2.8 billion year-over-year related to the financing of Blueline and Baker. Our total liquidity at June 30th was a very healthy $2.15 billion comprised mainly of ABL capacity. Leverage at the end of the quarter was 2.8 times. That's down 10 basis points versus where we are -- where we were, excuse me, at the end of the first quarter and we continue to work towards ending the year around 2.5 times. As a reminder, earlier in the quarter, we communicated a lower target leverage range for the Company, which is now 2 times to 3 times net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA.
And finally, here's a quick update on our share repurchase program. We purchased $210 million of stock in the second quarter on our current $1.25 billion program, which puts us at $840 million purchased to-date. We still expect to complete this program by year end. I'll also note that our total share count at the end of