Dollar Thrifty revenues rise in first quarter

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Car Rental News - 23/04/2009


The rental car group reported an increase of three per cent over fourth quarter 2008 results.

The rise is being seen by some industry observers as a sign that the downturn in the rental car industry may have bottomed.

Over the past several months, car rentals declined along with the demand for air travel, which provides a large base of customers for the rental business. Declines in demand occurred as both leisure and business travel waned in the global economic downturn.

Shares in Dollar Thrifty fell sharply since September of last year - by nearly three-quarters - as the market became increasing concerned over the ability of rental car companies to finance new vehicle purchases and over the value of their fleets.

On Tuesday, the company said that the rise of between two and three per cent from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, led to rental revenues of $336.7 million. The total was eight to nine per cent lower than the first quarter of 2008, however, as the price hike of four per cent that was introduced was insufficient to counter a 12 per cent drop in demand.

Part of the decreased demand was blamed on Easter falling during the second quarter this year, and February having one less day.

Analysts had expected first quarter rental revenue of $368 million.

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