AMERCO 2004 Annual Report
Dear Fellow Shareholder:
We begin fiscal 2005 with a strengthened balance sheet and increased shareholder value.
Our core U-Haul moving and self-storage business is strong and our balance sheet and financial condition continue to improve. Fiscal 2004 revenues from our moving and self-storage business were 7 percent above those recorded in fiscal 2003. Operating profits nearly doubled from last year.
U-Haul continues to seek and realize opportunities in truck and trailer transactions and revenue. During fiscal 2004, over 8,000 new trucks entered our rental fleet. We expect to further strengthen our position in the industry by upgrading our fleet with more than 10,000 trucks during fiscal 2005. This creates significant opportunities in increased fleet availability, revenues and profitability.
Our North American network of 14,000 independent U-Haul dealers continues to be the cornerstone of our truck and
trailer moving business.
Our owned and managed self-storage business consists of over 340,000 rooms and nearly 29 million square feet. Occupancy has increased 5.4 percent since this time last year. As of the end of this past fiscal year, we have experienced a net gain of approximately 20,000 rented rooms. We continue to strive for a 90 percent utilization rate.
Building on the successful model of our U-Haul dealer network, our business strategy in the self-storage industry is growth through affiliation with independent providers of self-storage. Through our eMove online marketplace, we are able to leverage our existing infrastructure with minimal capital commitments.
Presently, U-Haul has over 1,000 self-storage affiliates. These independents strengthen their place in the industry by utilizing our eMove online marketplace. Our thrust is to continue to build relationships through a fee-based structure rather than build more physical rental facilities. You will continue to see development in this area.
Our life insurance subsidiary reported solid operating profits through improved investment income. They will continue to build upon their success.
Our property and casualty insurance subsidiary incurred a loss for the year, which was related to costs associated with discontinued, non U-Haul lines of business. We have identified and corrected factors creating the losses.
The majority of SAC entities were deconsolidated from AMERCO’s financial statements. This enhances accounting transparency.