Penske says Q3 most profitable in company history

Penske Automotive Group Inc. reported Thursday that its third quarter was the most profitable quarter in company history, driven by big per-vehicle profit gains, higher finance-and-insurance income and lower costs.

Penske, the second-largest new-vehicle retailer in the U.S., said third-quarter net income more than doubled to $247.6 million. Revenue fell 0.1 percent to $5.97 billion.

Adjusted net income from continuing operations rose 99 percent to $231.1 million. That figure excluded a $15.4 million tax benefit related to changes in tax legislation in the U.S. and abroad.

Penske’s third-quarter gains “were primarily driven by same-store retail automotive revenue and margin expansion, coupled with expense reductions,” CEO Roger Penske said in a statement.

The company’s 16 standalone used-vehicle supercenters in the U.S. and the U.K. generated higher revenue and profits. Penske said sales slipped 6.9 percent to 18,372 vehicles at its standalone used-vehicle store unit, but revenue for the supercenters jumped 7.6 percent to $352.5 million. Profits for the unit more than tripled to $16 million compared with the same period a year earlier.

Penske said it plans to open two additional used-vehicle supercenters in the next 90 days. Four other sites are under development.

The company’s retail commercial trucks division reported a 24 percent decline in earnings before taxes compared with a year earlier, as retail unit sales and revenue both dropped. But Penske reported a 53 percent jump in equity income from its ownership stake in Penske Transportation Solutions.

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