July 20, 2017 / 11:04 PM / a month ago

Brazil's Localiza posts record profit as fleet grows

SAO PAULO, July 20 (Reuters) - Localiza Rent a Car SA , Brazil's biggest car rental agency, on Thursday posted its biggest quarterly profit ever as falling interest rates and a fast-growing fleet boosted sales and profitability.

Net income rose 32 percent from a year earlier to 129 million reais ($41 million), according to a securities filing. The result beat an average forecast of 116 million reais among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Localiza's fleet grew 22 percent in 12 months to nearly 152,000 cars at the end of June. The company seized on falling borrowing costs and a nascent economic recovery to ramp up a fight for market share with rival Movida Participações SA after its February listing.

Car rental volume in the second quarter rose 29 percent from a year earlier, while the average daily rate fell 7 percent, resulting in a 21 percent rise in rental revenue. A strong quarter for used car sales boosted total net revenue 40 percent.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operating profit known as Ebitda, rose 28 percent to 299 million reais, beating an average forecast of 288 million reais.

Ebitda as a share of rental revenue rose 2.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 34 percent due to cost controls and efficiencies of scale.

$1 = 3.12 reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Leslie Adler

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