Europcar announced Sept. 7 its second quarter and first half of 2012 financial results, in which the company reported a 3.2% decrease in revenue compared to the first half of 2011 (€888 million in 2012 versus €918 million in 2011).

Adjusted corporate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased from negative €0.9 million at constant exchange rates to a positive €7.8 million due to lower depreciation costs and more favorable fleet financing interests, which the company said resulted from its refinancing program finalized in mid-July.

“Over H1 (the first half of 2012), we contained pressure on our revenues despite the difficult economic environment,” said Roland Keppler, CEO of Europcar Group. “We continued to optimize management of costs and utilization rate, which helped to maintain profitability. We were also able to generate growth in our leisure segment, which we defined as a priority earlier this year. Our transformation plan ‘Fast Lane 2014’ is rolled out across Europcar countries and is showing its first visible results through improvements in operational excellence and strong risk management.”

Europcar’s consolidated revenue for just the second quarter amounted to €495 million, a decrease of 3.9% at constant exchange rates.

The company cited a “continuously difficult market environment” that caused a decrease in volume (-1.4% for the first half of 2012 and -1.3% for the second quarter), which was compensated by countries with a strong leisure market. The company called the competition “fierce” in the leisure segment, and said that revenue per day (RPD) for the first half of the year was down 2.4%.

Europcar’s utilization rate improved by seven points as the company’s fleet decreased by 3.2% compared to the first half of 2011.

“Operating income margin remained stable thanks to rigorous control over fleet holding cost and operating expenses,” the report said. “In the meantime, fixed costs show a slight year-on-year increase reflecting higher investments in IT systems in order to support the Fast Lane 2014 transformation plan.”

The Fast Lane program includes country-specific initiatives, such as strengthening sales, optimizing networks and improving the customer experience, as well as IT strategies, new mobility concepts and brand marketing enhancements.