UPDATE 1-Dollar Thrifty has strong profit but trims outlook


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DETROIT, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Car rental company Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. on Wednesday said third-quarter earnings rose as new franchises and lower vehicle costs helped offset the negative impact of hurricanes in the U.S. Southeast.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company, whose brands include Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, said earnings rose to $25 million, or 96 cents per share, from $21.4 million, or 84 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

One analyst had expected Dollar Thrifty to earn $1 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose to a record $421.1 million from $370.4 million, Dollar Thrifty, one of the nation's largest car rental companies, said.

"We are very pleased with our strong third quarter performance, particularly considering the negative impact of the four hurricanes which hit Florida, a state that provides approximately 30 percent of our total rental revenue," Gary Paxton, Dollar Thrifty's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Reduced travel to Florida in September combined with hurricane-related damage to Dollar Thrifty facilities and vehicles to cut its quarterly earnings by as much as 12 cents per share, Paxton said.

Primarily because of the hurricanes, he said the company was trimming its full-year earnings forecast to between $1.75 and $1.85 per share, from a previous range of $1.75 to $2.00.

The new forecast excludes the effect of a previously announced accounting change, the company said.

Looking ahead, Paxton said Dollar Thrifty expects to see continued strong growth from its acquisitions strategy and the opening of new rental outlets.



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