Tulsa, OK – Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. today reported results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009. Net income for the 2009 fourth quarter was $11.5 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $72.2 million, or $3.36 loss per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 included a favorable impact on income of $0.14 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $1.54 per diluted share in last year's fourth quarter, both of which relate to changes in fair value of derivatives and impairments of long-lived assets.
Non-GAAP net income for the 2009 fourth quarter was $7.7 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $39.1 million, or $1.82 loss per diluted share, for the 2008 fourth quarter. Non-GAAP net income (loss) excludes the (increase) decrease in fair value of derivatives and non-cash charges related to the impairments of long-lived assets, net of related tax impact. Corporate Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $26.2 million, compared to a loss of $43.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP results are included in Tables 3 and 4.
"We are all proud of the Company's dramatic financial turnaround that is clearly demonstrated in our operating results for the quarter and full year. The Company realized a $69.6 million year-over-year improvement in Corporate Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter. Additionally, we also are reporting our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in financial performance while operating in the challenging economy of 2009," said Scott L. Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer.
For the quarter ended December 31, 2009, the Company's total revenue was $345.3 million, as compared to $355.1 million for the comparable 2008 period. The decline in revenue was primarily driven by a 12.2 percent decrease in rental days, partially mitigated by an 11.6 percent improvement in revenue per day. On a same store basis, rental revenues for locations open during both periods were up 1.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The fourth quarter average fleet was down 10.5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.
"Revenue for the quarter was in line with our expectations and our overall return on asset strategy. We continue to focus on the profitability of rental transactions and overall price discipline in the industry. Consistent with our strategy, at times we will accept lower transaction days and utilization in order to maintain the proper balance between price and volume," said Thompson.
Per vehicle depreciation cost of $274 per month in the fourth quarter of 2009 was approximately 33 percent lower than the comparable quarter of 2008. Numerous factors drove the improvement in depreciation cost per vehicle, including a significant improvement in used vehicle residual values as they recovered from the historical lows experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008, extension of our fleet holding periods, better mix optimization, a move towards a greater proportion of risk vehicles in the fleet and more effective remarketing. Vehicle utilization was 78.8 percent, down 150 basis points from last year's fourth quarter. Utilization was adversely impacted by an increase in the number of vehicles held for remarketing during the period and the Company's focus on price discipline.
Direct vehicle and operating expenses and selling, general and administrative expenses were lower in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter in 2008 primarily as a result of transaction declines, cost reduction efforts and cost efficiency initiatives. As a percentage of revenues, these operating expenses declined 620 basis points to 65.1 percent of revenues, compared to 71.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. Interest expense for the fourth quarter of 2009 declined on a year-over-year basis primarily as a result of a $760 million reduction in debt compared to 2008 levels, partially offset by lower returns on invested cash.