FTC Squeeze Hertz One Last Time Before Confirming Dollar Deal

Hi all,

So the FTC have finally given the green light for Hertz to complete its buyout of Dtag (Dollar Thrifty). The deal which I’ve been writing about for close to 2 years received FTC approval with a vote of 4-1 on Friday and mean’s Hertz will now become the second largest USA car hire company.

However the FTC who were rightly concerned about restriction of  competition  in the U.S. have asked for a few compromises before agreeing to the deal.

Advantage Rent A Car Sale

The main compromise was the sale of Hertz’s value product; Advantage Rent A Car to the organisation who currently own U-Save Car Rental and Rent A Wreck for  $16 million, half the sum that Hertz originally paid for it.

Although the diluting of one of Hertz’s brands was seen as a positive step, doubters still believed that this wasn’t going far enough, the main reason being cited was “can the Franchise Services of North America, Inc. (FSNA) compete with the likes of Avis/Budget and Enterprise?”

Airport Locations

Well no, they can’t really and one of the reasons is getting hold of airport locations. The FTC were also concerned that the Hertz Dollar deal would impact airports hugely with Hertz at some locations being represented by 3 well known brands.

So part of the agreement has seen Hertz agree to give up some of their prime airport locations  I was originally told it would be 15 or 16 locations but reports have now confirmed that Hertz  have agreed to give up 29 Dollar Thrifty locations.

16 of these airport locations will be sold to FSNA the other 13 locations will be sold to another party to be determined before the deal is finalised.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

American consumers rent more than 50 million vehicles at airports nationwide each year, spending $11 billion, so this is a real pocketbook issue for everyday people. Today’s bipartisan action by the FTC will ensure that consumers are not forced to pay higher prices for rental cars when they travel.

As I have mentioned before the deal has concerned many as the car rental market alters from 4 competing firms to 3 with no other supplier really armed to even compete on an even scale.

Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch the only FTC member to vote no explained

I voted against acceptance of the consent decree because I found it inadequate to resolve the competitive concerns at several dozen other airports affected by the transaction. I would have instead voted to challenge the transaction because of the significant risk of post-merger coordinated interaction among the remaining competitors.

usrentacar.co.uk facebook community also felt the deal was problematic and voted narrowly against the deal in our online poll.

I guess only time will tell as the proposed deal is open to public comment until the 17th December.

What do you think?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Are Hertz Closer To Buying Dollar Thrifty Than We Thought?

Hi all,

Amazing!! Two days in a row and I’m not talking about the redesign, so you know something must have caught my attention…and it has…

Yesterday we spoke about the Hertz quarter 1 results and the effect they could have on future inbound business, well buried within the full report which can be viewed here were some very direct wording in regards to Hertz’s marathon pursuit of Dollar Rent A Car

Within the forward statement to investors was this little nugget

Among other items, such factors could include: our ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to consummate an acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group; the risk that expected synergies, operational efficiencies and cost savings from a Dollar Thrifty acquisition may not be fully realized or realized within the expected time frame; the operational and profitability impact of divestitures that may be required to be undertaken to secure regulatory approval for an acquisition of Dollar Thrifty;

So Hertz are stating to investors that the acquisition of Dollar Thrifty could have an impact on their 2012 profit as they slimline the organisation, also looking at the report you can see a substantial amount has been spent on Acquisition related costs.

So popping on my deerstalker, I’m going to assume the following

  • Hertz will shortly announce an agreement with the FTC regarding the purchase of Dollar Thrifty.
  • We will see a fresh Hertz bid for Dollar Thrifty this quarter.
  • Hertz have found a buyer for Advantage Rent A Car (their value brand).

Now I’m no Sherlock Holmes but I’m pretty confident when I say Dollar Thrifty will become part of Hertz this year and I’m going to take a guess that either Sixt Rent A Car or Fox Rent A Car will be the new owners of Advantage Rent A Car.

What do you think?

regards,

James,

 car hire USA

We’ve Added Two New Suppliers

Hi all,

So today signals the first full week of users having access to the new usrentacar.co.uk site feedback has mostly been positive and fingers crossed most of the bugs have been ironed out.

Today’s post will highlight two new suppliers we’ve added to the site, National Car Rental and Thrifty Rent A Car. We never rush in to  adding a new supplier to our site, the supplier has to be offering something different from what we already have and of course they have to come with a good car rental pedigree. So first up is National Car Rental.

National Car Rental

National are the prestige brand of America’s largest car rental company, Enterprise Holdings. National are the sister company of Alamo Rent A  Car and are best known in the U.S. for being aimed at business travel.  We’ve bought them on board for a couple of reasons, firstly they offer a young drivers policy which are pretty hard to contract, secondly they offer some great pick up locations that Alamo don’t cover including JFK car hire but the best part and the real selling point is the way they price their one way rentals (pick up in one location drop off in another). National offer a base price for all one way rentals regardless of mileage of $250.00. So even if you are collecting in Orlando but returning to San Francisco the one way rental will only ever be $250.00 plus tax… Alamo would charge $500, Dollar would charge $750 and Budget would charge $1000.00!!! So as you can see National are great way to save cash on one way rentals.

Recap

  • One way rentals only cost $250.00 regardless of mileage.
  • National offer a young drivers product.
  • Great locations.

Thrifty Rent A Car

Thrifty are part of DTAG which also owns Dollar Rent A Car. At present Thrifty in my opinion are working out where they stand within the UK market, are they a cheaper version of Dollar or just a sister site? We bought Thrifty on board to offer competitive pricing at locations that Dollar aren’t present, for example Boston Airport. Thrifty have a great history of working with inbound holiday makers and understand the UK mindset.

Recap

  • Competitive pricing.
  • Locations Dollar Don’t have.
  • Understanding of the UK market.

Have you used either of these suppliers in the past, what did you think?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Dollar Thrifty Reveal Cost Saving 2012 Fleet

Hi all,

With the price of petrol sky rocketing suppliers in the USA are seeing an adverse effect in their bottom line to tackle this one supplier has purchased its 2012 Fleet with this firmly in mind.

Dollar Rent  A Car and Thrifty Rent A Car who have recently updated their Fleet revealed that 67% of the vehicles purchased have a highway fuel-efficiency rating of 30 miles per gallon (mpg) or better. Additionally, 98% of Dollar Thrifty’s general car models achieve 28 highway mpg or better.

Based on the average mileage driven by Dollar Thrifty customers the fuel efficient vehicles will save an estimated $24 Million compared to the 2011 fleet, which in this day and age is pretty impressive.

Scott Thompson, President and CEO of Dollar Thrifty said

With escalating gas prices and the increasing burden on travelers, Dollar Thrifty maintains its commitment to delivering value by continuing to purchase vehicles with improved fuel efficiencies. Our diversified fleet of 2012 models not only aligns with our fiduciary duties as an environmental steward, it significantly enhances our value offering to our customers

Among the environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles in Dollar Thrifty’s 2012 fleet purchase is the Kia Rio which has a highway mpg rating of 40 and received the U.S. EPA SmartWay Certification Mark for its low greenhouse gas emissions and minimal air pollution. Also prominent in the fleet are the popular Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback, both of which achieve 38 highway mpg, and the Nissan Versa which also receives 38 highway mpg.

Are the miles per gallon a concern for you when booking your USA Car Hire?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Dollar Rent A Car Release Full Year Accounts

Hi all,

Yesterday the Dollar Thrifty Group (DTG)  released full 2011 end of year accounts and also quarter 4 details.

In a nutshell Dollar Thrifty have had another record year eclipsing last years results which at the time was also a record year!  Boosted by a buoyant second hand market DTG boasted profits of $159.6 million,  up from $131.2 million,  in 2010. Revenue rose to $1.55 billion from $1.54 billion.

Scott L Thompson, Chairman and CEO stated

“We are pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, the company is reporting record earnings,”

“During 2011, we benefited from a robust used vehicle market, a recovering travel market with increasing demand for value-oriented product offerings, and our ongoing focus on expense control and productivity initiatives.”

What does Dollar Thrifty expect for 2012?

2012 Outlook  

The Company is providing the following guidance for 2012 with respect to key drivers of its business model:

  • Vehicle rental revenues are projected to be up 3 – 5 percent compared to 2011.
  • Vehicle depreciation costs for the full year of 2012 are expected to be within a range of $220 to $240 per vehicle per month.
    • The Company is utilizing a Manheim index of 124 for the full year of 2012 for purposes of estimating residual values and depreciation rates.
    • Gains on sales of risk vehicles in 2012 are expected to moderate significantly on both an aggregate dollar and per unit basis compared to vehicle gains recorded in 2011.  This decrease is the result of continued refinements of residual value assumptions to more closely align with market conditions at the time of sale.
  • Interest expense is expected to decline significantly on a year-over-year basis, primarily as a result of lower overall interest rates on the Company’s fleet financing facilities as compared to the fixed rates on matured and maturing financing facilities, and the repayment of all of the Company’s corporate debt in 2011.  These decreases will be partially offset by higher rates on the newly completed revolver and the expected re-leveraging of our Canadian fleet.
So a great year for Dollar Rent A Car bucking the trends of the recession, I’ll be interested to read how other trading companies have done in 2011.
regards,
James

 Florida car hire

What’s The Hold Up With The Dollar Thrifty Deal?

Hi all,

News has been pretty scant on the proposed Hertz buyout of  Dollar Thrifty since Budget pulled out of the deal. So I thought today might be a good time to discuss where I believe the deal is at and what the possible stumbling blocks could be.

Hertz are still very keen to complete the purchase, and looking at recent market share analysis you can see why! At present Enterprise Holdings including Alamo National have a market share of around 40% and are the clear market leaders, up next is Hertz with around 20%, Avis Budget have 17% and Dollar Thrifty commands 5.7% , the top 4 companies combined have 83% of the total U.S. Car Rental market.

So Hertz’s move to buy Dollar Rent A Car will see them cement their position as the number 2 car rental company in the U.S.

Since Dollar posted a record share price high in June, a volatile market and the withdrawal of the Avis Budget  offer, Dollar’s share price has fallen 33%, even with this decline Hertz may be forced to offer $70 a share to entice the share holders to sell, this represents a 24% premium on current stock price and the second-biggest gap of any pending U.S. deal over $1 billion. However the underlying factor is that Dollar turns over higher profits than Hertz and are presently a very health and cash rich company.

The major stumbling block I can see is the potential sale of the Hertz owned Advantage Rent A Car brand. Part of seeking FTC approval for the deal would require Hertz to sell off it’s own economy brand, but with a deteriorating  U.S. market, who will have the cash or even want to take on the brand?

Dollar have set a deadline of the 10th October for all final bids to be in, however I think with Hertz being the only potential bidder this deadline will be extended.

However look for Hertz to want too get this deal done quickly rather than face competition from a newly united Avis Budget.

I’ll continue to monitor this deal closely and keep you all updated.

regards,

James,

 car hire USA

Avis Budget Seeks Dollar Thrifty Clarity

Hi all,

Just to keep you updated on the soap like episodes of the on going saga of car rental giant Avis Budget Rent A Car‘s proposed purchase of Dollar Rent A Car.

In the past we have seen Dollar share holders reject a very strong looking Hertz bid in favour of the seemingly more lucrative but a trickier to complete Budget deal.

Avis Budget hope to get clarification from the U.S. Federal Regulators within the next two weeks.

Our discussions with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been very constructive, although we are not yet at a point of resolution,” Avis’ CEO Ronald Nelson said on a quarterly earnings conference call with analysts.

The potential problems for the deal surround Avis’s  ownership of low cost brand Budget Rent A Car, who already compete against Dollar and Thrifty in many of the same markets.

Experts state that the sale of Dollar to Avis could leave the consumer worse off as the USA Car Hire market  is predominately fought by 4 major brands, Alamo Rent A Car (Enterprise), Hertz, Avis/Budget and Dollar/Thrifty, so the sale would give the customer less choice.

The next couple of weeks are very important to Avis/Budget, I will keep you posted with any new developments.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk® Add Thrifty Car Rental

Hi all,

Some great news today, usrentacar.co.uk® the UK’s leading Car Hire USA specialist has been able to extend their portfolio of suppliers in Boston, Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle by securing a deal to offer Thrifty Car Rental from these airport locations.

From today, for rentals collecting from the 01/04/11 onwards, usrentacar.co.uk customers can take advantage of some great fully inclusive rates on vehicle categories including Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Full Size, Convertibles, Sport Utility Vehicles and Minivans.

About Thrifty Car Rental

Thrifty Car Rental is one of the largest car rental companies in the world and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: DTG).

Through corporately-owned and franchised stores, the company operates more than 1,000 locations in 70 countries.

Thrifty is one of the most widely recognized brands in the travel industry that caters to cost-conscious business and leisure travelers.

We are looking forward to working closely with Thrifty and hope you will enjoy their service.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

USA Car Hire Revenue Increase For Alamo, Budget, Dollar and Hertz

Hi all,

Today I have been sent the annual survey of USA car rental fleets, locations and revenue  provided by Auto Rental News.

The U.S. Car Hire industry is set to report a combined industry revenue of over 20 billion dollars up on 2009 figures.

The impressive point to this stat is that this year’s revenue total will be achieved with a smaller rental fleet, bringing average revenue per unit to $1,051 per month, a record high.

Alamo Car Hire

Alamo Rent A Car including Enterprise Rent A Car and National Rent A Car have an estimated 850,689 rental cars in service in the USA today covering 6178 locations. Last year’s total revenue was estimated at $9.5 Billion, this years revenue see’s an estimated increase to $9.8 Billion.

Budget Car Hire

Budget Rent A Car including Avis have an estimated 270,000 rental cars in the USA servicing 2100 locations. Last year’s total revenue was estimated at $4 Billion, this years revenue see’s an estimated decrease to $3.85 Billion.

Dollar Rent A Car

Dollar Rent A Car including Thrifty Rent A Car have an estimated 108,000 USA Hire Cars on the road spread out among 464 locations. Last year’s total revenue was estimated at $1.467 Billion, this years revenue see’s an estimated increase to $1.54 Billion.

Hertz Car Hire

Hertz Rent A Car including Advantage Rent A Car have an estimated 290,000 rental cars in the USA servicing 2300 locations. Last year’s total revenue was estimated at $3.95 Billion, this years revenue see’s an estimated decrease to $4.158 Billion.

Totals

Based on all the estimates there are 1,629,561 Rental Cars servicing 17,254 separate USA pick up points earning an estimated $20.551 Billion for 2010!

I am n0t entirely sure if these figures include the buoyant second hand car sales market, but the figures are an encouraging sign that the car rental industry is back on a secure foundation after what has been an extremely difficult few years.

Regards,

James,

 car hire USA


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