Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTG)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 01, 2011 9:00 am ET

Executives

H. Clifford Buster - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Vicki Vaniman - Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel

Scott L. Thompson - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Analysts

Christopher Agnew - MKM Partners LLC, Research Division

Michael Millman - Millman Research Associates

Fred T. Lowrance - Avondale Partners, LLC, Research Division

Stephen O'Hara - Sidoti & Company, LLC

John M. Healy - Northcoast Research

Presentation

Operator

Welcome, and thank you for joining the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group's Third Quarter Financial Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. And now, I'd like to introduce your host for today's call, Vicki Vaniman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Ma'am, you may begin.

Vicki Vaniman

Thank you. Good morning, and welcome to the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Release Conference Call. The host for today's call are Scott Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Cliff Buster, Chief Financial Officer.

Some of the comments contained in this conference call may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed as forward-looking statements due to many factors. These factors include, among others, matters that Dollar Thrifty has noted in its latest earnings release and filings with the SEC. Dollar Thrifty undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements.

Today, the company will use certain non-GAAP financial measures, all of which are reconciled with GAAP numbers and can be found in today's press release or posted to the company website at dtag.com under the Investor Info tab.

And now I would like to turn the call over to Scott to discuss our third quarter earnings.

Scott L. Thompson

Thank you, Vicki. And good morning, everyone. We are pleased to report the company's highest quarterly profit in its 61-year history. Growth, profitable revenues, productivity initiatives, cost controls and disciplined fleet management combined with a strong used vehicle market to produce another record quarter. This in spite of a somewhat sluggish travel market and a competitive rate environment.

Now for a few overall comments. Rental revenue for the third quarter of 2011 increased 2.4%, driven primarily by a 4.1% increase in rental days, partially offset by a 1.7% decrease in revenue per day. You might note that the decline in rate per day on a sequential basis is trending favorably, as we believe the excess fleet carried by the industry over the summer is diminishing.

Fleet costs were certainly a highlight for the quarter. Fleet cost per vehicle for the third quarter of 2011 declined to $186 per month compared to $262 per vehicle per month in the third quarter of 2010.

Lower based depreciation rates combined with an increase in risk vehicle gains of approximately $7.4 million (sic) [$17.4 million] on a year-over-year basis drove the decline. As we have stated numerous times in the past, a predominantly risk fleet will result in some degree of volatility in our operating results at the timing of vehicle sales and the strength of the used car market will vary.

Corporate adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2011 totaled $117.6 million compared to $81.8 million in the third quarter of 2010. There were no merger-related expenses in the third quarter of 2011 compared to $11.9 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Now Cliff will review the financial details for the quarter.

H. Clifford Buster

Thank you, Scott. Non-GAAP net income, excluding merger-related expenses, totaled $66.9 million for the third quarter of 2011 compared to $52.8 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Again, excluding the impact of the merger-related expenses, non-GAAP diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2011 totaled $2.14 per share compared to $1.74 per share in the third quarter of 2010.

Consistent with our comments in the second quarter, I need to point out that there have been no significant equity grants since 2010, although our diluted share count did increase by approximately 1 million shares compared to the prior year period. This is the result of the applications treasury stock method for accounting purposes in computing diluted shares.

Due to the increase in the company's stock price since 2010, approximately 200,000 fewer shares are assumed to be repurchased from the proceeds of option exercises. Additionally, approximately 800,000 fewer shares are assumed to be repurchased attributable to the inability to benefit the tax deduction arising from those assumed option exercises under the treasury stock method, as the company does not expect to be a cash tax payer in 2011. When the company becomes a cash taxpayer, the situation is expected to reverse, thus reducing diluted shares outstanding.

Now turning to Table 1 in the press release. Rental revenues for the third quarter of 2011 were $435.6 million, an increase of 2.4% from prior year levels. Fleet utilization matched prior levels as the increase in our fleet size was closely aligned with the increase in rental demands.

Selling, general and administrative expenses, or SG&A, in the third quarter of 2011 decreased $11.5 million from prior year levels, primarily attributable to an $11.9 million decrease in merger-related expenses on a year-over-year basis. Direct vehicle and operating expenses, or DVO, in the third quarter of 2011 increased $10.3 million compared to the third quarter of 2010, attributable to the overall growth in our fleet size and direct costs associated with the increased sales of ancillary products such as prepaid fuel and toll road products. The costs associated with the ancillary products are more than offset through increases in rental revenues, although their growth does negatively impact the ratio of our operating expenses to total revenues on a comparative basis to prior year.

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