SAO PAULO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's biggest rental car chain, Localiza Rent a Car SA, kicked off earnings season in Brazil on Thursday, reporting net income little changed from a year earlier as a recovery in rental demand offset rising depreciation of its fleet.
Quarterly profit edged up 1 percent from a year earlier to 104 million reais ($33 million), according to a securities filing, beating an average estimate of 95 million reais in a Thomson Reuters survey of four analysts.
Localiza was the first company to report third-quarter earnings on the benchmark Bovespa stock index.
Strong demand in Localiza's economic segment boosted daily rentals by 25 percent, but brought down average rates by 10 percent, lifting net car rental revenue by 14 percent.
Fleet depreciation rose 57 percent to 55 million reais, driven by weak car valuations as auto sales fell to nearly half their 2012 peak amid the worst recession in decades.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operating profit known as EBITDA, rose 6 percent from a year earlier to 252 million reais.
$1 = 3.14 reais Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Sandra Maler