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Avis Budget 1Q loss doubles

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) -- Avis Budget Group Inc. said Wednesday that first-quarter revenue improved, but the car rental company reported a wider loss due to restructuring costs and other special items.

It was the company's first quarterly report since completing its acquisition of car-sharing business Zipcar Inc. on March 14.

Avis Budget posted a loss of $46 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with a loss of $23 million, or 22 cents per share, in the first quarter last year. After adjusting for debt-extinguishment expenses, transaction-related charges and restructuring costs, it earned 8 cents per share.

CEO Ronald Nelson said that stronger prices in North America helped offset expected increases in fleet costs and the pressure of economic conditions in Europe. Revenue increased 4 percent to $1.69 billion on higher prices and longer rentals. That includes a roughly $14 million contribution in revenue from Zipcar.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 3 cents per share on revenue of $1.7 billion.

The company updated its full-year forecast to include the acquisition of Zipcar. Avis Budget expects adjusted earnings of $2 to $2.60 per share for the year on revenue of $7.8 billion to $8 billion. Analysts expect $2.32 per share on revenue of $7.88 billion.

Shares of the company, based in Parsippany, N.J., fell 40 cents to close at $28.44 amid a broader market decline.