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Hertz file for bankruptcy – CNN

The company has been renting cars since 1918, when it founded a store with a dozen Ford Model Ts, and has survived the Great Depression, a virtual halt to US car production during World War II and various oil price shocks. By declaring bankruptcy, Hertz said it intends to stay in business while restructuring its debt and creating a financially healthier company.

“The impact of Covid-19 on sudden and dramatic travel demand has led to a decline in corporate revenues and bookings in the future,” the company statement said. It said meanwhile action was too fast in responding to the crisis, “uncertainty remains about when revenue will return and when the used car market will fully reopen for sales, which requires action today.”

This filing is arguably the highest bankruptcy profile of the Covid-19 crisis, which has driven bankruptcy by national retailers such as JCPenney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew, along with several energy companies such as Whiting Petroleum and Diamond Offshore Drilling. But no company that has proposed so far has a large share of their industry as does Hertz, which along with its rivals Avis Budget (CAR) and the privately owned Enterprise dominates the rental car industry

The entire rental car industry has been devastated by a downturn in travel since the pandemic struck earlier this year. Nearly two-thirds of its revenue comes from rentals at airport locations, and air travel has fallen sharply. Since early April, the number of people who passed the TSA checkpoint at US airports has dropped 94% compared to last year.

Filing bankruptcy does not mean the company will be forced out of business. Many companies have gone through the process and continue to record profits, including car makers General machine (GM) and many national airlines. But many companies that have filed for bankruptcy with the intention of staying in business have not survived the process.

Hertz said the bankruptcy process would give him “a stronger financial structure that puts the company’s best position for the future while navigating what could be a long journey and an overall global economic recovery.”

The deep cuts are in place

The company rents out cars under the Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly brands, discount brands outside the United States.

The company has made deep cuts to stem losses. This has told 12,000 employees in North America that they lost their jobs, and another 4,000 leave. The US workforce stood at 38,000 employees at the beginning of the year, with around a quarter of them represented by unions.

Hertz (HTZ) The stock closed down 7.5% on Friday and has fallen 82% so far this year. Stocks moved sharply lower in after-hour trading late Friday. Stocks tend to be worthless as part of the bankruptcy process.
Hertz missed payments on April 27, which was due to a group of lenders who rent out vehicles in the Hertz US daily rental fleet. The lender extended the grace period for repayment until 22 May “to engage in discussion … with the aim of developing a financing strategy and structure that better reflects the economic impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic and Hertz’s ongoing operations and financing requirements.”

The company has a total of 568,000 vehicles and 12,400 company locations and franchises worldwide earlier this year. About one third of these locations are at airports.

Most of Hertz’s nonairport business is renting cars to people whose vehicles are repaired after an accident. But with so many people out of work or working from home, miles traveled and the number of car accidents has dropped significantly. Car insurance voluntarily returns more than $ 7 billion, or between 15% to 25% of the premium, to their customers.

Piling up losses and debt

Hertz posted annual revenue of $ 9.8 billion last year, a company record, and rental car revenue was comparable to rivals Avis Budget Group (CAR). But Hertz had problems that preceded the Covid-19 pandemic. It posted a net loss of $ 58 million in 2019, down from a loss of $ 225 million in 2018. But in the first three years, he lost $ 356 million.

Hertz has $ 18.8 billion in debt on March 31, up $ 1.7 billion from the end of last year. Most of the debt, $ 14.4 billion, is supported by vehicles. That includes debts that were missed in April that triggered the latest crisis. It only had $ 1 billion in cash on the balance sheet at the end of March,

Storied history

Hertz was founded in Chicago more than a century ago by Walter Jacobs, who sold the company in 1923 to John Hertz, who changed the company’s name and expanded its fleet to 600 cars. He started the country’s first national rental network in 1925 and opened his first airport location at Chicago Midway Airport in 1932.

Hertz already has a number of prominent company owners, including RCA, United Airlines (UAL), and the latest Wade through (F), which sold it to a group of private equity companies in 2005 for $ 5.6 billion. This was published a year later.

Today’s main shareholder is activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns about 38% of the outstanding shares. He continued to increase his ownership in the company until mid-March. The stock, which increased its ownership size by 26%, has lost more than 60% of its value in the two months since its last purchase.

The problem in Hertz and the rental car business as a whole is bad news for world car makers. Car rental companies are usually the main buyers of new cars. Last year they bought 1.7 million US cars, according to Cox Automotive. That’s the same as 10% of US new car purchases.

Hertz has announced it will not buy a new car for the rest of the year, and that he is starting to sell his vehicle as a used car. In early March, he had sold 41,000 cars from the US fleet and 13,000 from the European fleet. But the cessation of used car auctions and the closure of many used and new car dealers have made sales stop completely.

But it is clear that when used car sales channels return to normal, car rental companies will continue to cut their fleets. Avis Budget said it expected its fleet in America to be reduced by 20% by the end of June, compared to the previous year.

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