Avis Budget profit rises, but shares fall on reduced forecast

By Danny King
Avis Budget Group’s third-quarter profit more than tripled from a year earlier, primarily on last year’s acquisition of Avis Europe.

Shares fell 6% on Friday after Avis Budget lowered its 2012 revenue and profit forecasts on challenging business conditions in Europe.

Avis Budget’s net income rose to $280 million from $82 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 34% to $2.17 billion, though North American revenue was up just 2%. Excluding Avis Europe, the company’s rental volume rose 4%, offsetting a 3% drop in rental rates.

The company cut its 2012 revenue forecast from its August estimates by $500 million, to $7.3 billion, while reducing the upper end its estimate for earnings by $35 million, to $875 million (excluding certain items).

Avis Budget accounts for about 18% of the U.S. car rental market, according to trade publication Auto Rental News.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.
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