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Dollar Thrifty Automotive Profit Soars, Tops Estimates

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Profit Soars, Tops Estimates
5/9/2012 7:52 AM ET

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. (DTG: Quote) Wednesday reported a better-than-expected profit and revenues for its first quarter, boosted by higher vehicle rental revenues. For fiscal 2012, the vehicle rental and leasing company maintained its forecast, which was lifted recently citing strong quarterly performance.

Scott Thompson, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "A strong used car market, combined with continued emphasis in the areas of cost control, productivity initiatives, fleet utilization and balance sheet management enabled us to achieve another record quarter, in spite of a competitive rate environment."

First-quarter net income climbed to $40.4 million or $1.35 per share, the highest first quarter profit in the Company's history, from $16.5 million or $0.53 per share last year. On average, 6 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.30 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Total revenues amounted to $356.27 million from $348.35 million in the prior-year quarter, while four analysts estimated revenues of $355.53 million for the quarter.

The company's vehicle rental revenue increased driven by a 6.5 percent growth in rental days, partially offset by lower revenue per day. The company reported Corporate Adjusted EBITDA of $76.8 million, compared to $36.3 million in 2011.

In the quarter, average number of vehicles operated grew 3.6 percent from last year to 101,417 and vehicle utilization rose 1.3 percentage points to 81 percent. Average revenue per day dropped 4.2 percent to $45.35 and monthly average revenue per vehicle fell 1.4 percent to $1,115.

Fleet cost per vehicle declined. Vehicle re-marketing volumes increased significantly due to a substantial fleet refresh cycle currently underway.

Peer Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR: Quote) on Monday said it slipped to a loss in its first quarter from prior year's profit on one-time items, while adjusted earnings grew on higher net revenues.

Last week, Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (HTZ) reported a narrower net loss for its first quarter. Excluding certain items, the company posted net income, compared to last year's loss on increased revenues.

Looking ahead, for fiscal 2012, Dollar Thrifty continues to project earnings per share within a range of $5 to $5.60 and corporate Adjusted EBITDA between $285 million and $310 million. Six analysts project 2012 earnings of $5.36 per share.

The company on April 23 had lifted its full-year forecast citing first-quarter performance, current overall economic conditions, expectations for continued strength in the domestic used vehicle market and continued improvement in travel volumes.

Thompson noted that the recovery in the leisure travel market continues to show steady improvement, and the firm is pleased with the strength of forward reservation bookings as it heads into the peak season.

Dollar Thrifty shares closed Tuesday's trading at $80.53, down $0.99 or 1.21 percent.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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