Dollar Thrifty reports increased losses

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Car Rental News - 19/02/2009


The Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group posted a fourth quarter loss on a drop in demand and used vehicle values.

The rental car giant said that its losses for the fourth quarter more than doubled those of the same quarter in 2007, at $72.2 million, compared to $30.6 million last year. Its revenue was also down, falling by 8.8 percent, down to $355.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, as compared with $389.2 million a year earlier.

With the exclusion of one-time charges, Dollar Thrifty said its losses amounted to $1.82 per share. Analysts had estimated that the loss would be a smaller one, at around $1.28 per share on revenue of $342.6 million.

The rental car company operates the Dollar Rent-A-Car and Thrifty Car Rental brands, and has said that it expects a drop in vehicle rental revenue of 6-12 percent for the full year. It did not provide a specific earnings forecast, however. The company did indicate that it was actively reducing costs, by way of job cuts, fleet size reductions and closing locations that were not profitable.

A slowdown in rental car demand and drop in the resale value of used vehicles has hit many rental car companies. Dollar Thrifty, for the full year, said that its losses totaled $340.4 million, compared with profits of $1.2 million for 2007. Its revenue dropped by 3.6 percent, down to $1.7 billion.

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