Sonic Automotive In-Line on Top Line, Short on the Bottom

New and used car dealer Sonic Automotive reported third-quarter results today before the markets opened, showing that it posted net revenues of $2.24 billion, a 5.4% increase from the same period in the previous year, and just about in-line with the $2.29 billion Capital IQ consensus estimate.

While earnings from continuing operations came in at $38.8 million, or $0.46 per share, essentially unchanged from $38.6 million, or $0.40 per share, in the same period in 2012, it was $0.04-per-share short of the CapIQ estimates of $0.50 per share.

Sonic reported its results last month on Oct. 21, but had recorded a tax gain in the quarter due to the expiry of its 5% convertible senior notes in 2011 and 2012 and was evaluating the effects it might have over prior periods. As a result, the adjusted results for the third quarter of 2012 exclude a pre-tax charge of approximately $18.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share.

The car dealer previously narrowed its full year guidance by raising the low end of its earnings range to $1.96 to $2.03, with analysts anticipating Sonic Automotive posting earnings of $1.98 per share on revenues of $8.91 billion.


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