May 9, 2017 / 11:08 AM / 2 years ago

Loss-making Europcar 'cautious' on Britain as EU talks loom

FILE PHOTO: A logo of French car rental company Europcar is seen at Bordeaux Airport in Merignac, Southwestern France, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) - Europcar Groupe (EUCAR.PA) is “cautious” about the British car rental market as it monitors developments in the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union, although it has yet to see any impact on its 2017 results.

“We confirm our 2017 guidance, with our cautious view on Britain,” Chief Executive Caroline Parot said on Tuesday of Europcar’s second biggest market.

Travel and tourism industry associations have been pushing to secure visa-free travel between Britain and the EU after Brexit to limit disruption to the industry.

Britain’s vote last year to quit the bloc has already had an impact Europcar and Avis Budget Group (CAR.O) which in the second-half of last year saw a negative impact from the pound’s slump following the EU referendum.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst David Cerdan said if the UK economy deteriorates it will have an impact on the car rental market, as the UK is primarily a business market and corporations will hire cars less often.

Europcar reported a wider adjusted EBITDA loss of 6.2 million euros ($6.8 million) in the first quarter, hurt by additional investments in its digitalization program and losses incurred in its new mobility division, which includes businesses like car sharing.

The company is targeting organic revenue growth of more than 3 percent and an increase in its adjusted EBITDA margin, excluding new mobility, for 2017.

The group also announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Danish franchisee, Europcar Denmark. This follows a number of deals in 2016 in countries such as Ireland, Italy and Spain.

Additional reporting by Alan Charlish in Gdynia; editing by Alexander Smith

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