U.S. Markets closed

Asbury Automotive 4Q profit up on new-car demand

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) -- Auto dealership chain Asbury Automotive Group Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income rose 6 percent, helped by a steep jump in demand for new vehicles.

The Duluth, Ga.-based company earned $22.8 million, or 73 cents per share, up from $21.5 million, or 68 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding losses of $200,000, or 1 cent per share, related to discontinued operations, the company earned 72 cents per share in the period. The year-ago quarter included $4.3 million in losses from discontinued operations, along with $300,000 in debt-related charges, resulting in an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 55 cents per share.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $1.22 billion from $1.06 billion.

The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 65 cents per share on $1.19 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Sales of new vehicles rose 21 percent to $712.9 million, while sales of used vehicles increased 8 percent to $320.9 million.

For the full year 2012, Asbury earned $82.2 million, or $2.61 per share, up from $67.9 million, or $2.08 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $4.64 billion from $4.14 billion.