Avis Budget plans for summer start of recovery

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First-quarter Avis Budget Group revenue declined 9% year over year to $1.75 billion as the company braces for its "most difficult quarter" over the next few months, interim CEO Joe Ferraro said Thursday in an earnings call.

Revenues were down 80% in April and likely will be down by the same percentage this month, he said. However, the company expects demand to begin to recover in June and throughout the rest of the year.

"Our current reservations show improvement in June and over the balance of the summer," Ferraro said. "In markets where shelter-in-place restrictions are being lifted, we're seeing early indications of improving demand, which leaves us hopeful for a recovery beginning in the third quarter."

The company will be pushing car rental as an "attractive alternative" to other forms of transportation as people start traveling again. To that end, Avis Budget has upped its cleaning procedures, including using disinfectants certified to be effective against Covid-19, according to the company.

Ferraro said Avis Budget has "sufficient liquidity for 2020 and into 2021," as the company has cut costs through measures including job reductions, shrinking its fleet and ending all non-essential spending.

Avis Budget reported a net loss of $158 million for the first quarter, compared with a $91 million loss in the first quarter of 2019.

Source: Business Travel News

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