Lithia Q4 net surges on tax gains, record revenue

Lithia Motors Inc.’s fourth-quarter net income surged on record revenue and special gains, particularly from tax-law changes. Same-store gross profit grew in all operations except used vehicles.

Net income climbed 74 percent to $89.4 million, while revenue rose 18 percent to a fourth-quarter record $2.7 billion from a year earlier, the nation’s fourth-largest dealership group said Wednesday.

Net included $38 million in one-time gains, including $32.9 million related to changes in the federal tax law, vs. one-time gains totaling $6.8 million a year earlier.

“For the second consecutive year, we acquired over a billion dollars in annualized revenues,” CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement. “We continue to see an active acquisition market with ample stores available.”

Last year, Lithia purchased 18 stores and opened one. It expects that those stores combined will generate over $1.7 billion in annualized revenue. Last month, the group bought two stores in the Buffalo, N.Y., market, which it expects to produce $140 million in annualized revenue.

Some highlights:

Sales: New-vehicle sales rose 17 percent to 45,202 while used-vehicle retail sales grew 12 percent to 32,242.

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