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Group 1 Acquires Kia Dealership

Zacks Equity Research

Group 1 Automotive Inc. (GPI) announced the acquisition of Shawnee Mission Kia dealership in Overland Park, Kansas as part of its continuous effort to expand brand offerings across the U.S.

The acquired dealership is expected to generate $65.0 million in estimated annual revenues. It will complement the company’s existing BMW, MINI and Hyundai dealerships in the Kansas City area.

In 2012, Group 1 acquired 16 franchises with estimated annual revenues of $715.0 million. The company also disposed of six franchises during the year with trailing-12-month revenues of $127.9 million.

Houston, Texas-based Group 1 Automotive is one of the largest automotive retailers in the U.S., which sells new and used cars and light trucks; arranges vehicle financing, service and insurance contracts; provides automotive maintenance and repair services; and sells vehicle parts. The $1.4 billion company owns and operates 121 automotive dealerships, 157 franchises, and 31 collision centers in the U.S. and the U.K. that offer 31 brands of automobiles.

In the third quarter of 2012, the company posted an impressive 30.7% increase in earnings per share to $1.32 from $1.01 in the prior year quarter. Earnings per share exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.

The company’s revenues for the quarter came in at $2.0 billion, up 25.9% from the year-ago quarter. The growth in revenues was driven by strong retail new vehicle and used vehicle unit sales.

Revenues from new vehicle sales surged 32.3% to $1.1 billion on a 34.0% increase in unit sales to 34,532 vehicles. Revenues from retailed used vehicles boosted 22.6% to $462.4 million on a 19.5% improvement in unit sales to 22,433 vehicles.

Group 1 competes with AutoNation Inc. (AN) and Penske Automotive Group Inc. (PAG). Currently, the company retains a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) for the short-term (1 to 3 months).

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