Dollar Thrifty Q4 Loss Expands

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. posted a wider fourth quarter loss, hurt by lower consumer demand as well as a softer used car market, the company reports.

The auto rental company said lower demand led to unfavorable pricing and a decline in the use of its vehicles.

Dollar Thrifty reported a net loss of $30.6 million or $1.45 a share, compared with $2.7 million or 11 cents a share a year ago. Excluding items it posted a loss of 88 cents a share.

Revenue fell marginally to $389.2 million.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Dollar Thrifty said it expects to report a first-quarter loss, excluding items, due to higher fleet cost increases early in the year. Analysts expect earnings of 1 cent a share for the first quarter.

For 2008, the company forecast a profit $1.00 to $1.50 a share and said it will increase revenue growth during the year through expanding international sales, small business corporate accounts and the number of non-airport locations.

Dollar Thrifty also expects vehicle cost increases to be more challenging in the early part of 2008 as it absorbs recent declines in used car prices.

Analysts expect earnings of $1.12 a share for 2008.

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