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Car rental revenue and daily rates climbed in the U.S. in the first quarter as consolidation, such as Hertz's Dollar Thrifty acquisition, lightened the competitive dynamics.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. posted a first-quarter profit on Monday after losing money a year earlier, as rental revenue rose driven by its acquisition of Dollar Thrifty last year.

The car-rental company’s adjusted profit and revenue were better than analysts had been expecting.

The company earned $18 million, or 4 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. A year earlier it lost $56.3 million, or 13 cents per share.

It said its adjusted profit was $93.9 million, or 21 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of 16 cents per share.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $2.44 billion, from $1.96 billion a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting $2.39 billion.

The company said its Dollar Thrifty operations, acquired in November, are performing better than expected and integrating it is going faster than expected.

Worldwide car rental revenue rose almost 26 percent to $2.08 billion. Daily rental rates rose 2.6 percent, with gains in the U.S. offsetting a decline in average international rates.

The size of its worldwide fleet rose 27 percent to 757,100 because of the Dollar Thrifty acquisition.

It affirmed its February outlook for 2013 adjusted earnings per share of $1.82 to $1.92, with revenue of $10.85 billion to $10.95 billion. Analysts are expecting $1.90 per share on revenue of $10.9 billion.

Shares of the Park Ridge, N.J.-based company rose 8 cents to $24.05 in after-market trading following the release of the earnings report. Earlier on Monday they set a new 52-week high of $24.44 before ending the day down 22 cents at $23.97.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Tags: car rentals, earnings, hertz

Photo credit: A Hertz Gold Club board at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Atomic Taco / Flickr

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