A Chapter 11 filing would permit Hertz to stay in business while it works out a plan to pay its creditors and turn the business around. The company expanded its roster of advisers to include FTI Consulting Inc., which specializes in restructuring and bankruptcy cases, the people said, confirming an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal.
Sweeping travel restrictions tied to the Covid-19 outbreak and the global economic collapse have hammered revenue, particularly in the rental-car business. While the U.S. government has a $50 billion bailout plan for airlines, Hertz hasn’t been able to access that program, and its chief rival, Avis Budget Group Inc., had a stronger balance sheet going into the crisis.
The Estero, Florida-based company had been negotiating with lenders for relief as well as with the U.S. Treasury Department about the possibility of a bailout. But with dismal demand, a too-big fleet and plunging prices for used cars, Hertz didn’t have enough liquidity to last until a market recovery.
Hertz began laying off workers to preserve cash in March as the travel restrictions cut deep into sales. By April 29, Hertz disclosed that it had missed substantial lease payments related to its rental cars. Creditors gave Hertz until May 4 to come up with a solution, and Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Marinello said in an interview at the time that Hertz was doing everything it could to preserve cash and get leniency from lenders to avoid going bankrupt.