Dollar reports wider loss on accounting change

Friday, February 6th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Fourth quarter losses at Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. more than doubled on a $13.3 million charge stemming from an accounting change, the Tulsa-based rental car company said Thursday.

Dollar Thrifty reported losing $8.4 million, or 33 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with $4 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago.

The fourth quarter 2002 results were hampered by a 9-cent-per-share, one-time restructuring charge as the company acquires its franchisee-owned rental car outlets.

Without the change in accounting for purchase and promotion payments from its vehicle supplier, Dollar earned $4.8 million, or 19 cents per share. An analyst surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 44 cents per share.

Dollar Thrifty's stock closed up 49 cents, or 2 percent, at $25.40 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Revenues rose to $302.9 million for the quarter, compared with $250.3 million a year ago, on increased vehicle rental volume. Vehicle rental days increased by 35.2 percent while rental days at same stores increased by 13.8 percent.

``Our new operating model of managing both brands together and our ability to react quickly to market opportunities resulted in strong fourth quarter performance,'' said president and chief executive officer Gary Paxton.

For the year, Dollar earned $19.8 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with $46.8 million, or $1.88 per share, in 2002. Revenues for the year rose to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion.