Asbury Automotive Group Announces 2011 Third Quarter Financial Results Third quarter adjusted EPS from continuing operations of $0.44 per diluted share, up 13% over prior period quarter

DULUTH, Ga., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABG), one of the largest automotive retail and service companies in the U.S., today reported adjusted income from continuing operations for the third quarter 2011 of $14.3 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, versus adjusted income from continuing operations in the third quarter 2010 of $12.7 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, a 13% increase per diluted share.  Net income for the third quarter 2011 was $12.3 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared to $12.5 million, or $0.38 per diluted share in the prior year period.  See attached reconciliation for reported adjustments.

Third Quarter 2011 Highlights (compared to the prior year period):

  • Total revenues increased 5% to $1.1 billion
  • New vehicle gross profit increased 12%, including 8% from same store results
  • Used vehicle retail revenues up 19% , including 14% from same store results
  • Finance and insurance revenues up 19%
  • Total gross profit up 10% with increases from all business lines

Strategic Updates:

  • Reduced debt $49 million; third quarter leverage at 3.2x Total Debt/Adjusted EBITDA compared to 3.6x at the end of the second quarter
  • Repurchased $14 million of Asbury common stock during the quarter; repurchased nearly 6% of our common shares outstanding year-to-date
  • Purchased $16 million of real estate in anticipation of future lease expirations
  • Entered into a new $900 million five-year syndicated credit facility; approximately $2 million in estimated pre-tax annualized floor plan interest expense savings based on quarter-end floor plan balances
  • 80% of the DMS conversions completed to date

"Asbury is pleased to announce another quarter of double-digit growth in adjusted EPS from continuing operations," said Craig T. Monaghan, Asbury's President and CEO. "We produced these excellent results during a quarter that was significantly impacted by a limited supply of Japanese-branded new vehicle inventory.  We set another Company record used-to-new sales ratio, generated strong gross profits from our new vehicle sales, and continued growing our finance and insurance profit per vehicle retailed.  The third quarter provides another example of our associates' ability to increase profitability by reacting quickly to changing market dynamics and nimbly shifting business strategies.  On top of our stores' excellent operating performance, we continued to aggressively strengthen our balance sheet by paying down debt in order to improve our flexibility and better prepare the Company for future growth."

Asbury's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael S. Kearney added, "Our Japanese-branded dealerships experienced the full impact of the inventory shortages during the third quarter, with a number of these dealerships operating on only two weeks supply of new vehicle inventory.  We are now beginning to experience levels of Japanese-branded new vehicle inventory supply that are more appropriately aligned with consumer demand and we anticipate rebuilding these inventory levels through the first quarter of 2012."

For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, the Company reported adjusted income from continuing operations of $42.4 million, or $1.29 per diluted share, versus adjusted income from continuing operations of $34.7 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, in the prior period.  Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, was $46.4 million, or $1.41 per diluted share, compared to $32.7 million, or $.98 per diluted share, in the prior period.  See attached reconciliation for reported adjustments. Revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, totaled $3.2 billion, an increase of 10% compared to the prior period.

Asbury will host a conference call to discuss its third quarter results this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.  The call will be simulcast live on the Internet and can be accessed by logging onto or  In addition, a live audio of the call will be accessible to the public by calling (888) 427-9376 (domestic), or (719) 457-2692 (international); passcode - 4705124.  Callers should dial in approximately 5 to 10 minutes before the call begins.

About Asbury Automotive Group, Inc.

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. ("Asbury"), headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, is one of the largest automobile retailers and service companies in the U.S.  Built through a combination of organic growth and a series of strategic acquisitions, Asbury currently operates 79 retail auto stores, encompassing 99 franchises for the sale and servicing of 30 different brands of American, European and Asian automobiles.  Asbury offers customers an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicle sales and related financing and insurance, vehicle maintenance and repair services, replacement parts and service contracts.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains ""forward-looking statements"" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  and other federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical fact, and may include statements relating to goals, plans, market conditions and projections regarding Asbury's financial position, liquidity, results of operations, market position and dealership portfolio, the benefits of its strategic initiatives and future business strategy.  These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs and involve significant risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements.  These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, market factors, Asbury's relationships with, and the financial and operational stability of, vehicle manufacturers and other suppliers, the impact of supply challenges resulting from weather-related or other events in Japan, risks associated with Asbury's indebtedness (including available borrowing capacity and compliance with its financial covenants), Asbury's relationships with, and the financial stability of, its lenders and lessors, risks related to competition in the automotive retail and service industries, general economic conditions both nationally and locally, governmental regulations, legislation, adverse results in litigation and other proceedings, and Asbury's ability to execute its IT initiatives and other operational strategies, Asbury's ability to leverage gains from its dealership portfolio, Asbury's ability to capitalize on opportunities to repurchase its debt and equity securities or purchase properties that it currently leases, and Asbury's ability to stay within any targeted ranges for capital expenditures.  There can be no guarantees that Asbury's plans for future operations will be successfully implemented or that they will prove to be commercially successful.