Lithia Motors Inc. LAD reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.18 in the third quarter of 2017, increasing from $2.06 in the prior-year quarter. The bottom line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.39.

Reportedly, adjusted net income rose 5% to $54.8 million from $52 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues in the reported quarter were $2.69 billion, up from $2.27 billion in the year-ago quarter. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.68 billion.

Lithia Motors, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

 

Revenues from new vehicle retail rallied 20% to $1.56 billion in the quarter. New vehicle retail sales volume expanded 18.6% to 45,570 units. Revenues per vehicle inched up 1.2% to $34,169.

Used vehicle retail revenues increased 17% to $679.6 million in the quarter, whereas revenues from used vehicle wholesale nudged up 0.6% to $75.7 million. Used vehicle retail sales volume improved 17.2% to 34,737 units with revenues per vehicle slipping 0.2% to $19,565.

Revenues from service body and parts went up 22.4% to $265.7 million. The company’s finance and insurance business recorded a 15.2% rise in revenues to $101 million. Revenues from fleet and others surged 32.7% to $15.19 million.

Gross profit climbed 19.5% to $403 million in the reported quarter from $337.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Segment Details

Domestic segment revenues jumped 13.6% to $1 billion on a 10% rise in retail new vehicle unit sales to 14,004 automobiles. However, the segment’s income declined 3.6% to $31.1 million in the quarter under review.

Import segment revenues shot up 18.4% to $1.2 billion on a 24.1% rise in retail new vehicle unit sales to 26,643 automobiles. Segment income increased 12.2% to $37 million in the reported quarter.

Revenues at the Luxury segment rose 18.6% to $465.4 million. Retail new vehicle sales increased 17.4% to 5,032 luxury vehicles. The segment’s income rose 1.2% to $7.5 million in the quarter.

Acquisition

In May, the company completed the acquisition of Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) Auto Group in downtown Los Angeles, CA as well as a Nissan store at Carson, CA. Acquisition of DTLA helped Lithia gain stores of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Financial Details

Lithia Motors had cash and cash equivalents of $38.6 million as of Sep 30, 2017, down from $50.3 million as of Dec 31, 2016. Long-term debt was $991.3 million as of Sep 30, 2017 compared with $769.9 million as of Dec 31, 2016.

Dividend

Lithia Motors announced a quarterly dividend of 27 cents per share, expectedly payable on Nov 24 to shareholders of record as of Nov 10, 2017.

Outlook

Lithia Motors raised the anticipated earnings range to $8.3-$8.35, up from $8.05-$8.35 per share for full-year 2017. The company expects to generate revenues within the range of $10-$10.2 billion compared with the previously guided band of $9.2-$9.4 billion for 2017.

For fiscal 2018, the revenue is expected in the $11-$11.5 billion range and earnings per share of $9.25.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Lithia Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked companies in the auto space include Autoliv, Inc. ALV, BorgWarner Inc. BWA and Cummins Inc. CMI, all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Autoliv has an expected long-term growth rate of 8.7%.

BorgWarner has an expected long-term growth rate of 8.9%.

Cummins has an expected long-term growth rate of 12%.

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