An improving economy helped Baton Rouge-based H&E Equipment Services Inc. boost third-quarter earnings to $14 million, or 40 cents per share, compared to $3.7 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago.

However, H&E’s 2012 results were hampered by a $10.2 million charge for early payment of debt. Without that charge, H&E’s adjusted profit would have been $10.9 million.

The company, which sells and rents construction equipment, saw third-quarter revenue swell by 32.2 percent to $270.4 million thanks to increases in both segments.

H&E’s results easily outstripped the forecast by stock analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Those analysts predicted earnings of 35 cents per share on revenue of $244.1 million.

Chief Executive Officer John Engquist said rental revenues grew by 14.9 percent, sales of new equipment jumped 84.1 percent, and used equipment sales rose 47.2 percent.

Those results show a healthier economy and general construction market, he said. H&E believes the positive trends will continue through the end of 2013 and into 2014.

Engquist said there will continue to be high demand for H&E’s equipment in industrial markets and the commercial construction sector will also provide more opportunities.