Asbury Retails More Used Units in 2013, but Gross Softens



DULUTH, Ga. - 

Asbury Automotive Group sold 18 percent more used vehicles in 2013 on a same-store basis compared to the previous year, but those company dealerships watched their gross profit per unit sag slightly.

All told for the year, Asbury reported gains in adjusted income, net income and revenue as it released its latest financial metrics this morning.

In 2013, the company generated adjusted income from continuing operations of $109.7 million, or $3.53 per diluted share, versus income from continuing operations of $83.3 million, or $2.64 per diluted share, in the prior year.

Net income for the full year came in at $109.1 million, or $3.51 per diluted share, compared to $82.2 million, or $2.61 per diluted share in the prior year.

Asbury’s revenues for the full year totaled $5.3 billion, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2012.

And those year-end used-vehicle numbers included the same-store retailing of 67,768 units, a total of 10,334 more vehicles than in 2012. Add in the retail sales at stores Asbury acquired throughout 2013 and the company’s used-vehicle retail total came in at 69,454.

However, Asbury reported $50 less gross profit per used vehicle sold in 2013 compared to the previous year. The company’s gross on these units came in at $1,769, despite revenue per vehicle climbing 3 percent or $591 to $19,778.

Looking at just fourth-quarter figures, Asbury reported income from continuing operations of $27.2 million, or $0.88 per diluted share, versus income from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of last year of $22.6 million, or $0.72 per diluted share, a 22-percent increase per diluted share.

The company’s fourth-quarter net income rose to $26.9 million, or $0.87 per diluted share, compared to $22.8 million, or $0.73 per diluted share in the prior-year period.

Among the other Q4 highlights Asbury mentioned:

— Total revenues increased 13 percent to $1.4 billion.

— New-vehicle revenues increased 10 percent.

— Used-vehicle retail revenues up 24 percent.

— Parts and service revenues up 10 percent.

— Finance and insurance revenues up 21 percent.

— Total gross profit up 14 percent with double-digit increases from all business lines.

— SG&A expense as a percent of gross profit improved 140 basis points to 70.7 percent.

— Repurchased $10 million of Asbury common stock during the quarter.

— Board authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $50 million.

— Raised $36 million of mortgage debt during the quarter; fourth quarter leverage at 2.3x Total Debt/Adjusted EBITDA.

“We are pleased to announce record fourth quarter and full year results from continuing operations,” Asbury president and chief executive officer Craig Monaghan said.

“These results reflect the benefits of our operational excellence and disciplined capital allocation,” Monaghan continued. “We believe the automotive retail environment will remain healthy in 2014 as more customers take advantage of the extremely attractive financing options to replace their aging vehicles with the many exciting new vehicles available today.”

Asbury executive vice president and chief operating officer Michael Kearney added, “Our teams produced these record results by providing our customers with the highest levels of service. We believe there continues to be opportunity to grow across all of our business lines in 2014."

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