Lithia stock soars after record earnings reported

When Lithia Motors announced record results for the second quarter, investors took note, boosting the Medford-based company's stock price by nearly 10 percent Wednesday.

Lithia also announced a $300 million private offering it says will enhance growth opportunities.

The announcements helped push Lithia's stock from slightly under $91 a share on Wednesday to more than $101 a share this morning. It closed at $99.88 today.

The price boost came after the Medford auto retailer reported revenue of more than $2.4 billion and quarterly earnings of between $51.5 million and $53 million, or $2.05 to $2.11 per share, up from $51.4 million, or $2.01 per share, a year ago. Excluding acquisition costs and a hail storm insurance reserve, Lithia said its earnings would range from $55.1 million to $56.6 million.

"We grew revenue and adjusted earnings per diluted share by double digits as our results exceeded our internal projections in the second quarter,” Bryan DeBoer, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our store leaders continue to modify their tactics in this dynamic market and produced strong results in retail used-vehicle sales, service and parts, (along with) finance and insurance.”

Lithia said it intends to offer senior notes due in 2025 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers. Net proceeds of the offering will be applied to reduce debt, positioning Lithia for acquisitions, while providing for capital expenditures and debt repayment.

“The acquisition market remains active, and we believe this is an opportune time to access additional capital for growth,” DeBoer said. “We seek green field-like returns on our acquisition targets and anticipate further activity in the near future."

Lithia said quarterly operating income ranged from $100 million to $104 million during the period.

While same-store sales grew more than 2 percent, new-vehicle sales grew less than 1 percent, although unit sales declined 0.4 percent. Used -vehicle retail same-store sales, long a key component in Lithia’s growth, increased about 4 percent, while unit sales grew 4.6 percent.

Service, body and parts same-store sales increased in the 7 percent range.

According to Zack's Equity Research (, Lithia Motors outperformed others in the auto/truck industry in the last three months. During the period, Lithia's stock increased 21.4 percent while the industry as a whole came in with a 4 percent increase.

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