Business Maverick

Hertz Prepares to File Bankruptcy If Monday Deadline Is Missed

A plane flies as signage is displayed at dusk outside of a Hertz Global Holdings Inc. rental location at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Hertz is scheduled to release earnings on November 9. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

By Bloomberg
05. May. 2020 0

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as Monday night if the company fails to rework its debt and can’t get lenders to extend a grace period on a missed payment.

Hertz has been talking to some of its creditors about how to ease its burden without going through bankruptcy, but negotiations have been a struggle and the company is preparing to file for Chapter 11 court protection, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Hertz could file this evening, though Tuesday would be more likely if a deal isn’t reached. The situation could still change and a filing isn’t definite, said the people, asking for anonymity to discuss the confidential talks. A representative for Hertz didn’t return an email and calls seeking comment.

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.

Pandemic Impact

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.

Hertz, originally known as Rent-a-Car Inc., was founded in Chicago in 1918. It was operating 12,400 locations worldwide as of February, according to a filing.

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