Hertz: Car rental firm files for US bankruptcy protection

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Car rental company Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after the pandemic saw its business plummet.

The firm, which earns much of its income from car rentals at airports, said it had been affected by the sharp downturn in global travel.

It will continue to operate while restructuring its debts.

Hertz’s international operations in Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well as its franchised locations in the US are not affected.

The company – which began operating a century ago in Chicago with a dozen Model T Ford cars – had already furloughed or laid off 20,000 employees, or around half of its global workforce, in response to the pandemic.

Its chief executive resigned last week.

Before the pandemic the company had amassed billions of dollars in debt, with the rise of ride-hailing apps leading to a drop in demand for car rentals.

“The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the company’s revenue and future bookings,” Hertz said on Friday.

While it had taken “immediate actions to prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers, eliminate all non-essential spending and preserve liquidity”, the uncertainty over if and when the market would recover led to its decision, it said.

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