THE NRMA’s disastrous foray into the rental car business has helped drive it into a sea of red ink – it has quietly posted an annual net loss of more than $60 million.The motorists’ association’s huge loss compares with a much smaller loss of $13.5 million last year and a profit of $58.3 million the year before that.The organisation’s staff and its 2 million members in NSW will feel the effect of the savage losses. An internal report obtained by the Herald reveals the NRMA is planning to go on a $20 million savings drive, and services to motorists are likely to suffer.The leaked document, titled ”09/10 Group Business Plan” and dated July, states managers will ”review frontline staff utilisation and workforce planning to reduce labour costs including patrol staff reduction”.Some staff are asking why the organisation spent a rumoured $350,000 on sending a group of 20 employees along the Kokoda Track this year under a ”leadership program” when the mounting losses were apparent.The NRMA posted its official accounts on its website this week with no accompanying press release. In his members’ report, the group chief executive, Tony Stuart, maintained the ”core membership business” still delivered an operating profit of $10.3 million. Challenged on this figure, which does not appear in the published accounts, a spokesman said ”the NRMA Group financial statements do not report on individual business segments”.But insiders say it is an attempt to draw the focus away from the grim bottom line – a $61.8 million net loss after tax.Mr Stuart blames the losses on the global financial crisis, which led to investment write-downs and a marked slowing of the domestic travel market. But the most severe hemorrhaging has occurred through Thrifty car rentals.A former NRMA director, Richard Talbot, who opposed the Thrifty acquisition, said the figures were ” shocking” and members should seek the sacking of the board at next month’s annual general meeting.The internal report reveals Thrifty lost $27.5 million in 2008-09, and that the most the car hirer can hope for next year is to try and peg losses back to $6.5 million.It says ”long term neglect, lack of investment, leadership [and] failed strategies” were to blame for the result.The report sheds no further light on the circumstances under which the former managing director of Thrifty, John Walker, abruptly left the operation towards the end of last year.Mr Walker headed Thrifty when it was owned by Mitsubishi, but he persuaded the NRMA to pay $10 million for a 75 per cent stake while he purchased the remaining 25 per cent.Mr Walker was convinced getting the NRMA to buy independently-owned Thrifty franchises would make the business a success. But the operation has proved a disaster, and the internal documents reveal that the NRMA now wants to sell at least 55 of the franchises.Earlier this year the Herald revealed that when Mr Walker left Thrifty in December, the NRMA bought him out for a single dollar, despite the fact under his original deal he was entitled to a minimum of $2 million.The NRMA and Mr Walker have never revealed the terms on which he left, citing commercial confidentiality.The NRMA has also refused to reveal what forensic accountants found when they were brought in to pore over Thrifty’s books for 2007 and 2008.The leaked internal management document suggests the accountants must have faced a tough challenge, because none of the 2007-08 figures for ” fleet maintenance costs per unit”, ”new fleet leasing costs per unit”, ”profit on sale per car” and ”fleet recycling” are listed as being [email protected]南京夜网.au
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