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Zipcar 4Q results beat Street, membership climbs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Zipcar, which is being purchased by Avis, posted fourth-quarter net income that soared on a tax benefit as membership in the car-sharing company jumped by 16 percent by the end of the year.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the Cambridge, Mass. company earned $13.8 million, or 34 cents per share. That's up sharply from $3.9 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

The current quarter included a tax benefit of 27 cents per share.

Removing the tax benefit, earnings were 7 cents per share, which still topped Wall Street expectations of 6 cents.

Revenue increased 12 percent to $70.7 million from $62.9 million, topping Wall Street's forecast of $70 million.

Superstorm Sandy, which struck in October, reduced revenue by slightly more than $1 million.

Avis Budget Group Inc. said last month that it would buy Zipcar for $491.2 million, which vastly expands the fleet of vehicles available for car-share while giving Avis instant access to a popular service.

Zipcar was founded in 2000 and went public in 2011. The acquisition is expected to close in either March or April.

Zipcar Inc. earned $14.7 million, or 35 cents per share, for the year. In the previous year it lost $7.2 million, or 24 cents per share.

The current year included a tax benefit of 26 cents per share.

Annual revenue climbed 15 percent to $278.9 million and total membership rose to 777,000 at year's end.

Shares of Zipcar shed 1 cent to $12.23 in premarket trading.