Could Avis have turned a corner?

Could Avis have turned a corner?

Avis Europe says it may have turned a corner during the summer despite reporting net losses of €34.6m for the first six months of 2009, compared to a €6.8m profit for the same period in 2008.

Revenues in the six months to 30 June fell 14.1% drop compared to €533.2m year-on-year, but Pascal Bazin, Avis Europe’s CEO, said strong performance in July and August indicated the market might be improving.

Mr Bazin said: “We have delivered a resilient first half performance as our strategic positioning and the rigorous execution of our plan for recession mitigated weaker market conditions.”

Cost cuts of €82m included a 10% reduction in staff and fleet reduction, and offset the impact of revenues sliding €87m.

The company also pared its €1.3 billion debt mountain by shedding jobs and closing under-performing stations. The debt position was also aided by the cash flow improvement that arose from tighter fleet management: it cut new car purchases by 30%.

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But Bazin warned the lack of visibility on business travel after the peak summer period remains a concern. He said: “Visibility remains limited and we anticipate continued pressure on consumer sentiment and travel demand in the second half.

“In this uncertain trading environment, we will maintain our rigorous operational discipline to further improve our cost position and business model flexibility.”