Shares of Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) - Get Report fell more than 8% on Wednesday, despite the company's efforts to right its sinking ship. The company owns and operates the world's largest car rental company. Yet with a recent history of scandal and mismanagement, Hertz has been struggling.
Investors should stay away.
Year to date, Hertz's stock has fallen by a dramatic 59%. That's more than doubles the loss at struggling Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has seen a year-to-date drop of "only" about 22%.
There are several factors contributing to the company's tough year and poor quarterly performance. The company depends on selling its rental cars for a good chunk of its revenue, yet across the board, sale prices for used vehicles have been falling. In addition, years of poor management have caused problems the company is still trying to solve.
Last week, Hertz updated its full-year guidance, and investors were not amused. The consensus estimate from Wall Street analysts had called for adjusted earnings per share of $2.92. But now the company says that it expects adjusted EPS of only 51 to 88 cents for the period.
On Wednesday, Hertz announced that its CEO, John Tague, would be stepping down from his role and would be replaced by Kathryn Marinello. Marinello most recently served as a senior adviser at Ares Capital Management. The realignment of the Hertz team, to take place on Jan. 2, also includes the departure of three long-time directors from the Hertz board.
Tague became CEO of Hertz in 2014, after a scandal concerning the company's accounting practice forced the ouster of Mark Frissora. Tague's -- and now Marinello's -- appointment was brought about in no small part by the influence of activist investor Carl Icahn. In November, Icahn more than doubled his stake in the company. Investors have speculated that the investor would take the company private.
Marinello herself has a decent track record of turning around businesses. Following a tenure at General Electric, she successfully revamped the businesses of respectively, Stream Global Services and Ceridian.
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However, other shareholders still need more convincing; hence, the drop in share price.
Does that make Hertz a good discount opportunity ahead of a potential turnaround?
It's unlikely. Hertz remains a dangerous stock for investors. Only last month, the company's shares swung lower by more than 52%.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.