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Avis plans £151m rights issue

CAR rental group Avis Europe has announced plans to raise £151m from shareholders with a rights issue.

The issue has already won the the backing of Brussels motoring services firm D'Ieteren, which owns 60 per cent of the company.

The firm has seven million customers a year through the Avis and Budget brands.

It has has also secured new credit facilities to replace an arrangement which was due to expire in February.

Avis said it would use money from the rights issue for its expansion plans.

It said it continued to trade in line with expectations after rental income grew in March for the first time since May 2008.

Demand has been lower in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, but Britain has delivered a resilient performance as the firm gains market share.

Chief executive Pascal Bazin said the refinancing would enable the group to target higher growth emerging markets, as well as to take advantage of profitable opportunities for growth in its traditional markets.