Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group reports 3Q results and 2010 outlook

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group reports 3Q results and 2010 outlook

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: DTG) today reported results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009. Net income for the 2009 third quarter was $30.1 million, or $1.29 per diluted share, compared to net income of $18.9 million, or $0.87 per diluted share, for the comparable 2008 quarter. The net income for the third quarter of 2009 included income of $0.15 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $0.02 per diluted share in last year’s third quarter, both of which related to changes in fair value of derivatives.

Non-GAAP net income for the 2009 third quarter was $26.8 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $19.3 million, or $0.89 per diluted share for the 2008 third quarter. Non-GAAP net income (loss) excludes the (increase) decrease in fair value of derivatives, net of related tax impact. Corporate Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2009 was $54.7 million, compared to $43.4 million in the third quarter of 2008. Reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP results are included in Tables 3 and 4.

“In spite of the difficult economic environment, we achieved our third consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in both non-GAAP net income (loss) and Corporate Adjusted EBITDA,” said Scott L. Thompson, Chief Executive Officer and President. “The difficult steps we have taken over the past twelve months to maximize profitability and cashflow, combined with improvements in residual values, positively impacted this quarter. We expect both of these factors will continue to benefit future operating results.”

For the quarter ended September 30, 2009, the Company’s total revenue was $438.9 million, as compared to $500.6 million for the comparable 2008 period. The decline in revenue was primarily driven by a 21.3 percent decrease in rental days, partially offset by an 11.5 percent improvement in revenue per day. Excluding the impact of location closures, rental days were down approximately 17 percent on a same store basis. The third quarter average fleet was down approximately 20 percent compared to last year’s third quarter.

“Revenue for the quarter was in line with our expectations and consistent with our strategy of enhancing profitability by maintaining an optimal balance between transaction volume and pricing,” said Thompson. “During the month of September, we experienced rental revenue declines of only 3% compared to September 2008, and we currently expect year-over-year rental revenue growth for the month of October as increases in RPD are expected to fully offset volume declines, making October the first month since May of 2008 that the Company would experience year-over-year growth in rental revenue. These trends, augmented by our visibility into forward reservations, indicate to us that we may have seen the worst of the rental revenue declines for this business cycle.”

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Per vehicle depreciation cost of $315 per month in the third quarter of 2009 was approximately 3 percent lower than the comparable quarter of 2008. On a sequential basis, per vehicle depreciation costs declined approximately 14 percent as a result of improved residual values, longer hold periods, mix optimization and more effective remarketing. Vehicle utilization, a measure of fleet efficiency, was 84.2 percent, down 100 basis points from last year’s third quarter. On a sequential basis, utilization was up 360 basis points from 80.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Direct vehicle and operating expenses and selling, general and administrative expenses were lower in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter in 2008 as a result of transaction declines and cost reduction initiatives. Interest expense for the third quarter of 2009 declined as debt was reduced by $873 million, or approximately 33 percent, from September 2008 levels.

Nine Month Results

For the nine months ended September 30, 2009, net income was $33.6 million, or $1.47 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $268.2 million, or $12.57 loss per diluted share for the comparable period in 2008. The net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 included income of $0.53 per diluted share related to an increase in fair value of derivatives, compared to a loss of $0.06 per diluted share for the nine months ended September 30, 2008, related to a decrease in fair value of derivatives. In addition, the net loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 included non-cash charges of $12.42 per diluted share related to the impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets.

Non-GAAP income per diluted share for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 was $0.96, compared to a non-GAAP loss per diluted share of $0.09 for the same period in 2008. Non-GAAP net income (loss) excludes the (increase) decrease in fair value of derivatives and the non-cash charges related to the impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets, net of related tax impact. A reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP results is included in Table 3.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of September 30, 2009, the Company had $306 million in cash and cash equivalents and an additional $562 million in restricted cash and investments primarily available for the purchase of vehicles and/or repayment of vehicle financing obligations. The Company’s tangible net worth at the end of the third quarter of 2009 was $237.3 million, and the Company is in full compliance with all of the financial covenants under its various financing arrangements with lenders.

Outlook

The Company expects low single-digit declines in rental revenue during the fourth quarter of 2009, in line with the Company’s previously announced guidance for an annual decline in rental revenue of 8 to 10 percent for 2009 compared to 2008. The Company also expects to realize year-over-year improvements in rate per day and vehicle depreciation costs per unit per month during the fourth quarter of 2009. The Company’s operating results in the fourth quarter 2009 are expected to be significantly improved from the same period last year.

The Company expects the operating environment in 2010 to improve slightly as conditions in the overall economy and credit markets continue to recover. The Company expects to realize single-digit growth in rental revenues in 2010, and believes fleet costs will be below $350 per unit per month throughout 2010.

Web cast and conference call information

The Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. third quarter 2009 earnings conference call will be held on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 8:00 a.m. (CDT). Those interested in listening to the conference call live may access the call via Web cast at the corporate Web site, www.dtag.com, or by dialing 888-946-7608 (domestic) or 630-395-0278 (international) using the pass code “Dollar Thrifty.” An audio replay of the conference call will be available through November 10, 2009, by calling 866-363-4001 (domestic) or 203-369-0204 (international). The replay will also be available via the corporate Web site for one year.