Avis Posts Surprise 1Q Adjusted Profit, Upbeat '12 Guidance

Avis Budget (NASDAQ:CAR) disclosed a first-quarter loss on Monday due to acquisition-related costs, but the car rental company’s non-GAAP earnings surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.

Parsippany, N.J.-based Avis also revealed a full-year earnings outlook that was more bullish than estimates from analysts.

The company said it lost $23 million, or 22 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $7 million, or 6 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, it earned 12 cents a share, well ahead of projections on Wall Street for a loss of 1 cent a share.

Revenue soared 31% to $1.62 billion, topping expectations for $1.6 billion.

“Travel demand across the majority of our markets remains healthy, and residual values of our vehicles in North America have proven to be significantly stronger than our original expectations,” CEO Ronald Nelson said in a statement.

Excluding recently-acquired Avis Europe, rental volume jumped 6% and pricing fell 2%. In North America, revenue grew by 4% to $1.04 billion and adjusted earnings surged 72% to $93 million.

Looking ahead, Avis projected 2012 revenue will increase 24% to 29% to $7.3 billion to $7.6 billion. The company also called for 2012 EPS of $2.35 to $2.65. Those numbers compare favorably with the Street’s view of EPS of $2.11 on sales of $7.45 billion.