Fleet News

Corporate business growth lifts Avis Europe results

A 17.5% growth in corporate business helped Avis Europe increase its pre-tax profits by 44.1% last year, despite its fleet costs outstripping any rises in rental rates. Europe's largest car hire company successfully targeted small and medium sized businesses across the continent as part of its growth strategy, and this sector played a major role in growing Avis' number of rental days by 9.7% across the continent.

As the only major car hire firm floated on the London Stock Exchange, Avis Europe's results offer a valuable insight into the health of the rental industry. Avis Europe reported pre-tax profits of £98.7 million for the year to December 31, 1998 (1997: £68.4m), on turnover up 14.3% to £576 million (£504m). The results reveal that Avis managed to increase its rates by an average of 4.8%, its first increase for four years, but this was insufficient to offset higher fleet holding costs, despite Avis' best efforts to protect itself from the vagaries of the used car market by sourcing cars from a wide number of suppliers and extensively using buy-backs - about 80% of its fleet is on buy-back and in the UK the proportion is even higher.

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