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Dollar Thrifty Automotive rewards shareholders
Tulsa's Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group has provided a sweet ride to shareholders of the rental car company who bought stock during recent tough times.
TULSA — This is the stock you wish you had bought.Since the onset of the Great Recession, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group has bounced back from near ruin to reward shareholders lucratively. "You don't need too many of these to be rich,” Tulsa portfolio manager Fred Russell said. How bad were things at the Tulsa rental car company? When the stock price dipped to a meager 67 cents in March 2009, the company was priced for insolvency, Tulsa money manager Jake Dollarhide said. CEO Scott Thompson conceded that bankruptcy was among the alternatives management was considering. At the time, Dollar Thrifty's former parent company, Chrysler, owed the company $300 million, and was headed toward bankruptcy. The Chrysler debt eventually was paid, and Dollar Thrifty managed to restructure its crippling debt — a move that required approval from about 100 creditors. At the same time, the company reduced its contractual obligations to build its fleet with Chrysler vehicles, which suffered from unattractive resale values. The stock soared. Recently, Dollar Thrifty shares have been trading near the $50 range. For the second straight year, the benefits to shareholders boosted Dollar Thrifty's Oklahoma Inc. rankings. The company produced the best one-year return at more than 200 percent. Over two years, the total return topped 350 percent.