MEDFORD, Ore. — Lithia Motors Inc. reported the highest fourth quarter net income in company history, and more than doubled earnings for the fourth quarter and full-year 2011 vs. last year.
The company reported its full-year and quarterly performance at the same time that dealer group announced that Bryan DeBoer, president and COO, was promoted to CEO, effective May 1, 2012. Sid DeBoer, founder, chairman and CEO, will assume the role of executive chairman and remain as chairman of the board.
Adjusted income from continuing operations was $13 million, up from $5.4 million in 2010. Unadjusted net income from continuing operations was $16.4 million vs. $4.2 million for 2010.
Fourth quarter 2011 revenue from continuing operations increased $179.4 million to $717.5 million, a 33 percent increase from the fourth quarter 2010.
Fourth quarter year-over-year operating highlights include a 29 percent increase in new-vehicle, same store sales, a 21 percent increase in used-vehicle, same store sales, and a 3 percent increase in service, body and parts same store sales.
For the full year of 2011, revenue from continuing operations increased 30 percent to $2.7 billion, up from $2.1 billion in 2010. New-vehicle same store sales increased 29 percent, while used-vehicle retail same store sales increased 17 percent. Same store sales for service, body and parts increased 5 percent.
"We increased both fourth quarter and full-year total same store sales 23 percent," said Bryan DeBoer. "New-vehicle, same store sales increased 29 percent in both the fourth quarter and full-year 2011."
Lithia ended the period with $21 million in cash, $10 million in available credit on the company’s credit facility and $66 million in unfinanced new vehicle inventory. In total, this represents approximately $97 million in available liquidity, according to Lithia.
Commenting on the company’s outlook for the future, Sid DeBoer stated, "We expect that 2012 will be another year of increased vehicle sales due to several factors. As consumer credit availability for auto loans increases, the population of vehicles in operation continues to age, and the number of vehicles being scrapped each year is at or above current new vehicle sales levels, a multi-year expansion of vehicle sales lies ahead. Additionally, new and innovative products with improved safety and fuel efficiency features are an additional catalyst to increased sales."
Lithia projects its 2012 first quarter earnings within a range of $0.41 to $0.43 per diluted share. Full-year 2012 earnings are projected within a range of $2.06 to $2.16 per diluted share. Both projections are based on the following annual assumptions:
- Total revenues in range of $2.9 to $3.1 billion
- New vehicle same store sales increasing 10.8 percent
- New vehicle gross margin ranging from 7.4-7.6 percent
- Used vehicle same store sales increasing 10.5 percent
- Used vehicle gross margin ranging from 14.3-14.5 percent
- Service body and parts same store sales increasing 2.0 percent
- Service body and parts gross margin ranging from 48.3-48.5 percent
- Finance and insurance gross profit of $1,000 per unit
- Tax rate of 40 percent
- Average diluted shares outstanding of 26.6 million
- Capital expenditures of $44 million
- Guidance excludes the impact of future acquisitions, dispositions and any potential non-core items
For more information, visit www.lithia.com.