Bankrupt Hertz Strikes $650M Deal To Settle Fleet Reduction Plan

·3 min read

Debt-strapped Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) announced on Friday that it has reached an interim $650 million settlement agreement with debtors to suspend litigation related to the car rental company’s plan to reduce its leased fleet of rental cars.

The stock fell 5.4% to $1.58 at the close on Friday. Under the terms of the agreement, Hertz will pay a total of $650 million in cash of rent in equal monthly instalments from July to December this year. In addition, the car rental company will dispose of at least 182,521 leased vehicles between June and December.

The vehicles are owned by a separate asset-backed finance facility (ABS), which Hertz leases back under a contract that gives lenders collateral rights. The $3.9 billion in proceeds from the car sales will be used to repay debt incurred under the ABS, Hertz said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. As a result of the disposition, Hertz expects to record a $282 million gain.

Back in May, Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection after it failed to reach long-term agreements with creditors and it grappled with the financial fallout induced by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown orders tied to the pandemic have fueled an increase in car rental cancellations and a decline in future bookings. 

Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Woronka, who maintained a Hold rating on stock with a $3 price target (90% upside potential), said that if the car disposition plans materialize Hertz will end the year with 40% less fleet than it operated on average in the first quarter.

“In our opinion, this implies a potential market share opportunity for Avis (CAR), since we only expect the company to reduce its fleet by 25-30% in totality compared to the March quarter,” Woronka wrote in a note to investors on July 24. “The operational tumult at HTZ, is likely to allow CAR to undertake more aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at targeted segments of its customer base.”

Woronka added that since he doesn’t expect HTZ to purchase new fleet for at least the balance of 2020, “CAR is likely in a comparatively strong position to strategically optimize the overall quality and mix of its own fleet to prepare for a perhaps more sustainable recovery in travel volumes at some point in 2021”.

Last month, Hertz withdrew a planned $500 million share offering until further notice after the SEC said that it had put its share prospectus under review. The car rental company had warned investors that there was a significant risk that shareholders won’t receive recovery under the Chapter 11 proceedings and that its “common stock will be worthless”.

The stock has been hard hit plunging 90% year-to-date. The troubled car rental company has a bearish Moderate Sell analyst consensus from the Street with 2 recent Hold ratings and 1 Sell rating.

The average analyst price target stands at $2.84, implying 80% upside potential in the shares over the coming year. (See Hertz stock analysis on TipRanks).

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