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Lithia Motors sees earnings jump

 Posted: 8:50 AM February 20, 2013

Lithia Motors reported its highest fourth-quarter adjusted net income in company history, seeing a 52 percent jump in earnings from 2012.

The Medford-based auto retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $19.3 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $12.7 million, or 48 cents per share a year earlier. Revenue increased 26 percent to $877.4 million from $695.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lithia's full-year 2012 revenue of $3.3 billion topped 2011's $2.6 billion by 26 percent and surpassed the all-time mark of $3.2 billion in 2007.

"We grew total same store revenue 23 percent in 2012," said Bryan DeBoer, president and chief executive officer. "This is on top of total same store revenue increases of 22 percent in 2011 and 18 percent in 2010.

The nation's ninth-largest auto dealer said its new vehicle same store sales increased 31 percent, while used vehicle sales rose 20 percent.

Lithia's full-year net income from continuing operations grew 52 percent to $2.96 per share compared to $1.95 per diluted share for the full year 2011.

Overall, new vehicle sales accounted for $506.9 million of the sales, up 32.7 percent from $382 million last year.

During 2012, Lithia purchased four stores and were granted two new franchises, which contributed an estimated $260 million revenue on an annual basis.

During a morning conference call, Lithia said it expects revenue to grow to between $3.7 billion and $3.8 billion in 2013.

— Greg Stiles

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