Sonic Automotive says 3Q revenue rose 5 percent

Sonic Automotive says 3rd-quarter revenue grew 5 percent and raises low end of outlook

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Auto dealer Sonic Automotive said Monday that its revenue grew 5 percent in the third quarter on greater revenue from both new and used vehicles and from parts, service, and collision repair.

Sonic also raised the low end of its annual profit guidance, and its shares gained 63 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $24.47 in morning trading.

The company said its revenue rose to $2.24 billion from $2.13 billion. Sonic did not report its net income, saying it has identified a tax gain related to the retirement of debt in 2011 and 2012 and needs to calculate the effect that gain may have on its earnings in past quarters. The company said it will make another statement detailing its net income and earnings per share once the evaluation is complete.

Analysts expected Sonic to report $2.24 billion in revenue, according to FactSet. They are forecasting net income of 50 cents per share.

Sonic said new-vehicle revenue grew 5 percent to $1.26 billion.

The company is now forecasting net income of $1.96 to $2.03 per share this year. Its previous guidance called for net income of $1.93 to $2.03 per share. Analysts expect $1.98 per share on average.

Sonic Automotive Inc. said it plans to start opening stores for used vehicles. The new stores will operate independently from existing dealerships, and the company plans to start the initiative by opening two new locations in Denver in late 2014.

The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 2.5 cents. Its next dividend is payable Jan. 15 to shareholders of record on Dec. 13.

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