NEW YORK -- The car rental industry appears to have had a good first quarter, based on a look at the results for three companies, Hertz, Avis and the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.

All three showed increased net incomes in the first quarter of 2000 compared with the first quarter of 1999.

Hertz had net income of $56.3 million in the first quarter, up from $48.8 million in the first quarter of 1999. Revenues increased nearly 10% to $1.135 billion. Both of the figures are records.

The Park Ridge, N.J.-based firm said the results were helped by stronger pricing and performance in the domestic market, but profitability for its equipment rental operations were affected adversely by pricing pressure overseas.

Avis Group, the entity formerly known as Avis Rent a Car, reported net income of $19.6 million for the first quarter, up slightly from the $15.2 million take in the first quarter of 1999. Revenues were $1 billion, up 79% from the previous year.

In addition, Avis formed a joint venture with BNP Paribas, a French bank, that will provide fleet management services in North America and Europe.

BNP Paribas will own 80% of the venture, and Avis will get $800 million in cash.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, the Tulsa, Okla.-based company that owns both Dollar and Thrifty, reported net income of $11.3 million for the first quarter of 2000, up from earnings of $5.4 million in the first quarter of 1999.

Combined revenues of the two rental companies totaled $234.4 million, up more than 10% from the first quarter of 1999.

Dollar reported first quarter revenues of $180 million, a climb of 16% from last year's results, and Thrifty showed revenues of $55 million, a 3.3% drop. The decline was attributed to a change in vehicle leasing procedures.

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