April 21, 2021, 7:54 a.m. EDT

Lithia Motors reports record profit, beats views

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By Robb M. Stewart

Lithia Motors Inc. said Wednesday it recorded the highest earnings per share and revenue in the automotive retailer's history during the latest quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic only squeezed its performance in the final two weeks of March.

The results beat consensus analyst expectations for the period.

Net income jumped to $156.2 million from $46.2 million a year earlier, and earnings per share to $5.81 from $1.97, the company said.

On an adjusted basis, earnings hit $5.89 a share, after stripping out items including a charge related to acquisition expenses, a loss on the sale of stores and insurance reserves. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of $4.76 a share.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $4.34 billion from $2.80 billion, as new vehicle retail sales climbed 60% and used vehicle sales were up 55%. The result beat analysts expectations for revenue of $3.91 billion.

"With an acquisition pipeline more active than we have ever seen, we are well positioned to continue to aggressively pursue our goal of achieving $50 billion in revenue and $50 of earnings per share," said Bryan DeBoer, president and chief executive officer.

The company said it ended the quarter with about $1.4 billion in cash and availability on a revolving lines of credit, while unfinanced real estate could provide additional liquidity of roughly $552 million.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

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