Hertz Swings to Profit; Revenue Drops 5%

Photo courtesy of The Hertz Corp.
Photo courtesy of The Hertz Corp.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. has released its 2015 fourth quarter and full-year operating results.

For the full-year 2015, total revenue was $10.5 billion, a 5% year-over-year decline, according to Hertz. Adjusted net income was $360 million in 2015 — compared with an adjusted net loss of $254 million for 2014. Adjusted earnings were up 12% from 2014 at $1.49 billion.

In the fourth quarter, total U.S. car rental revenue was $1.41 billion, a decrease of 5% year-over-year. Hertz reported flat transaction days and a 5% decline in total Revenue per Transaction Day (RPD). The decline in pricing was due to competitive pricing in airport rentals and negative off-airport mix shift, says the company. Hertz reported adjusted earnings at $72 million for Q4, a $166 million improvement versus fourth quarter 2014; this was primarily driven by improved productivity and fleet management.

Hertz’s total revenues for Q4 were $2.41 billion, a 6% decline year-over-year. Adjusted earnings for Q4 was $266 million — compared to $76 million in fourth quarter 2014.

Foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on Hertz's fourth quarter 2015 results as compared to the prior year period. The unfavorable impact of foreign currency exchange rates to total revenue in the quarter was approximately $75 million, and the unfavorable impact to net income for the period was approximately $6 million, according to the company.

"By fundamentally improving our fleet management and reducing costs throughout the business, we delivered on our expected outcome for the fourth quarter and the full year, despite a highly competitive pricing environment," said John Tague, Hertz’s president and CEO. "We are encouraged by rising customer satisfaction across our major brands, which reached record levels in the third and fourth quarters of 2015, as well as the pace of improvement in our cost structure.”

Hertz’s fleet management helped drive a 3 percentage point increase year-over-year in worldwide car rental fleet efficiency to 78%, says the company. In the U.S., car rental fleet efficiency rose to 79%, an increase of 4 percentage points versus fourth quarter 2014.

Worldwide Revenue per Available Car Day (RACD) increased by 1%, says Hertz. In the U.S., RACD was unchanged as higher fleet efficiency offset a 5% decrease in RPD.

As part of its cost reduction program, Hertz achieved savings of about $75 million during the fourth quarter. For the full-year, Hertz reported cost savings of approximately $230 million, says the company. In 2016, Hertz expects to achieve an additional $350 million in cost savings.

For full-year 2016, Hertz has revised its previously issued preliminary adjusted corporate earnings guidance; it’s been revised from a range of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion to a range of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion, says the company.

"Looking ahead, we continue to see soft pricing in the U.S. rental car market in the first quarter 2016 as well as continued weakness in upstream oil and gas markets affecting equipment rental, both of which are reflected in our outlook for 2016," said Tague. "In this environment, we will continue to focus internally on improving cost and quality as part of our commitment to our three-to-five year margin improvement plan."

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