Avis Tops Earnings Expectations

Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR) reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter. The rental car giant, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, reported revenues grew 2% to $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter and 3% for the full year to $9.1 billion

Net income was $13 million ($0.16 diluted earnings per share) in the quarter and $165 million ($2.06 diluted earnings per share) for the year.

Avis also said adjusted EBITDA was $142 million in the fourth quarter and $781 million in the full year

Adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 18% to $0.53 in the quarter and 28% to $3.65 for the year

According to CEO Larry De Shon, "Our company had a very successful 2018, expanding margin and reporting our ninth consecutive year of revenue growth.

"We ended the year strong, reporting record fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted earnings per share, driven by a more than 2% increase in Americas pricing and substantially lower overall per-unit fleet costs."

Avis put its corporate debt at approximately $3,551 million at the end of the fourth quarter and cash and cash equivalents totaled $615 million.

The company said it sees full-year 2019 adjusted earnings of $3.35-$4.20 and sales of $9.2 billion-$9.5 billion.

What is more, the company repurchased 5.9 million of its common shares in 2018 at a cost of $200 million, including repurchasing 2.5 million shares in the fourth quarter at a cost of $71 million.

CAR shares jumped $3.49, or 11.9%, to $32.90