Dollar Thrifty reports profit drop

Wednesday, October 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group's profits tumbled 83 percent in the third quarter on a weakening economy and a dramatic drop in travel after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Tulsa-based auto rental company, which owns Dollar Rent A Car Systems and Thrifty, reported net income Wednesday of $6 million, or $.25 per share, compared with $36 million, or $1.46 per share, a year ago.

The company also increased its 2001 estimated income tax rate, reducing earnings by $.09 per share.

``Prior to the tragic events of Sept. 11, we were on track to meet earnings expectations for the quarter,'' said Joseph Cappy, chief executive officer and president.

The company experienced a few days of increased demand after the attacks as stranded travelers rented cars to return home. But rental volumes declined after that.

By the end of the quarter, volumes improved to levels about 20 percent below last year, Cappy said.

To control costs, the company reduced its fleet size, staffing hours at reservation centers and decreased its headquarters staff by 20 percent.

Total revenue for the third quarter was $299.6 million, a 7.2 percent decrease from a year earlier.