Hertz Won’t Meet Guidance, Cuts Staff

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Car and equipment rental firm Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N) said on Wednesday that reduced demand means it won’t meet its latest forecast, and suspended estimating earnings until the economy improves.

Hertz said third-quarter net income fell to $17.7 million, or 5 cents per share on a diluted basis, from $162.7 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Adjusted diluted earnings dropped to 33 cents from 65 cents.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 53 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue dropped 1.1 percent to $2.4 billion. Car rental revenue for the quarter rose 0.2 percent to $2.0 billion while equipment rental revenue fell 6.8 percent to $433.1 million.

Chairman and CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement that in September the company started programs to reduce employee headcount by about 1,400 and to close 80 net locations.

As a result of these actions, it took $85 million in restructuring and related charges for the quarter.

The company, based in Park Ridge, New Jersey, also recently increased prices in major car and equipment rental markets, he said.

Hertz said it ended the third quarter with total debt of $12.8 billion.

Hertz shares closed down 7.6 percent at $6.66, less than half their $15 a share IPO price in November 2006.

The company, formerly controlled by Ford Motor Co, was taken private by buyout firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Carlyle Group and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in 2005, and relisted in November 2006.

(Reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Richard Chang)