Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. announced Jan. 6 that, based on preliminary estimated results, it ended the year with an unrestricted cash balance in excess of $210 million, approximately the same balance the company reported on Sept. 30, 2008. During the fourth quarter, operating losses and changes in working capital were offset by the benefit of a $100 million cash dividend from the company's vehicle finance subsidiary that was paid in November 2008.
"These are uncertain times in the overall economy and particularly in the automobile and travel industries. Ending the quarter with estimated unrestricted cash of over $210 million and tangible net worth provides us with financial capacity to continue to execute our strategic plans over the coming months as we, and the entire rental car industry, deal with a less robust overall economy and a difficult used vehicle market," said Scott L. Thompson, president and Chief Executive Officer.
Consistent with its previously disclosed outlook, the company estimates that it will incur a fourth quarter non-GAAP pre-tax loss significantly in excess of the prior year's fourth quarter loss, resulting in a non-GAAP pre- tax loss for the year.
"As anticipated, the fourth quarter was extremely challenging due to current economic conditions. Based on preliminary data, our results were negatively impacted in the areas of utilization, rate per day and vehicle depreciation costs. Although we will end the quarter with a loss, our results were in line with expectations. The management team's focus is cash flow and we have made good progress in that area while also reducing our overall cost structure to position the company for the anticipated challenges of 2009," said Thompson.
The above data relating to year-end results are preliminary estimates based on information available at this time. The company will release its fourth quarter and full year results in February 2009.