| -

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Penske Automotive Group noted strong gains during the fourth quarter in several areas, including income, total revenue and total retail units sold, when executives shared their most recent financials late last week.

Penske revealed that its 2009 fourth quarter income from continuing operations was $19.3 million, which compares to an adjusted loss of $4.2 million during the same span last year.

Meanwhile, executives explained that total revenues in the fourth quarter increased 13.4 percent to $2.4 billion. Total retail revenues increased 18.2 percent to $2.3 billion, including a same-store retail revenue increase of 15.5 percent.

During the quarter, the group said selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of gross profit declined to 83.3 percent, due in part to the cost savings initiatives instituted during the last 18 months.

Chairman Roger Penske shared an upbeat assessment about how the company performed to close out 2009.

"I am pleased by the strong fourth quarter results, which were driven by a strong performance in the U.K., as well as the continuing benefit from our cost-saving initiatives," Penske stated.

"In particular, our premium/luxury retail businesses performed well, generating a 20.4-percent increase in same-store new retail unit sales, including a 29.9 percent increase in the U.K," he continued.

"I am also pleased by the 18.2-percent increase in our retail revenues, including growth of 8.6 percent and 38.7 percent in the U.S. and U.K., respectively, despite the continuing economic challenges in all of our markets," Penske went on to say.

Also during the fourth quarter, company officials shared details about gains in total retail units. The group moved 58,702 new and used vehicles in the quarter as compared to 52,943 in the same timeframe of 2008.

Moving onto a discussion about full-year data, Penske said that total revenues slipped by 18.2 percent to $9.5 billion. Adjusted income from continuing operations came in at $80.5 million, a drop from the 2008 figure of $92.7 million.

In terms of retail units, Penske's used-vehicle total remained nearly flat on a year-over-year basis. Last year's total was 102,457 while the 2008 figure was 102,032. The company's drop in this category came from new units, which slipped from 171,554 vehicles in 2008 to 140,914 last year.

smart USA Update

In other company news, Penske gave a brief update on its smart USA subsidiary.

Executives indicated that smart USA wholesaled 13,772 units last year, including 998 units during the fourth quarter

They also added that because smart USA has increased incentives on the 2009 smart fortwo, they recorded $1.4 million of after-tax reserves in the fourth quarter.

Credit Portfolio Discussion

Penske officials also mentioned they did not repurchase any securities during the fourth quarter of last year. However, the company did purchase $44.1 million in principal amount of its 3.5 percent senior subordinated convertible notes due in 2026 for $44.4 million in cash last month.

They said the transaction fully utilized the company's remaining securities repurchase authority. After these purchases, Penske pointed out that approximately $262 million principal amount of the 3.5 percent senior subordinated convertible notes due in 2026 remain outstanding.

Elsewhere, Penske's board of directors chose to grant new authorization for the company to repurchase up to $150 million of its outstanding common stock, debt and convertible debt. The board stressed that purchases would be depending on market conditions, price and other factors.

"Securities may be acquired from time to time either through open market purchases, negotiated transactions or other means," Penske executives explained.

"The company currently contemplates purchasing any securities under this program using cash flow from operations and credit availability in the U.S.," they concluded.