Dollar Thrifty Quarterly Profit Beats Market Estimates

Although Dollar Thrifty Group said it continues to be challenged by uncertainties in the automotive and airline industries and used vehicle markets, the company still posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates.

However, Dollar Thrifty said it expects to report a pre-tax loss, excluding items, significantly in excess of prior year’s fourth-quarter loss. The company rents cars under the Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental brands.

It expects vehicle rental revenue, which made up more than 95 percent of the company’s total revenue last year, down 4 percent to 5 percent for the full year of 2008.

For the third quarter, net income was $18.9 million, or 87 cents a share, compared with $11.3 million, or 48 cents a share in the year ago. Excluding items, the company earned 89 cents a share.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $500.6 million. Total costs and expenses for the company, which recently cut its workforce by about 6 percent, fell 3 percent to $469.2 million.

Chief Executive Scott Thompson said in a statement that Dollar Thrifty Group’s third quarter results were negatively affected by challenges in the areas of revenue per day and rental day volume. The bankruptcy of one of the company's tour operators was also a factor, he said. Rental revenue fell 4.8 percent, while over fleeting issues in the industry resulted in a 2.2 percent decrease in revenue per day, the company said.

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