Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 14, 2018 • 10:00 am ET


Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good morning, and welcome to the Lithia Motors Fourth Quarter 2017 Conference Call. Management may make statements about future events, including financial projections and expectations about the company's products, markets, and growth.

Such statements are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. The company discloses material risks and uncertainties in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company urges you to carefully consider these disclosures and do not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Management undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements, which are made as of the date of this release. Management may also discuss non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the text of the earnings release for a reconciliation of comparable GAAP measures. Management will provide prepared remarks and then open the call for questions.

I will now introduce Bryan DeBoer, President and CEO. Mr. DeBoer, you may begin.

Bryan DeBoer

Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. On the call with me are Chris Holzshu, our Executive Vice President and John North, Senior Vice President and CFO.

Earlier today, we reported adjusted fourth quarter earnings of $2.15 per share, which marks our 29th consecutive quarter of record performance. We are excited to have added an 11th digit to our annual revenues as we exceeded $10 billion this year. We increased quarterly revenue 18% and adjusted earnings 15% over our 2016 results despite a sequentially low full year SAAR of 17.1 million.

Fueled by our mission, Growth Powered by People, our organization is poised to continue its upward growth trajectory regardless of new vehicle market conditions. We expect further moderation in SAAR for 2018 in a range of 16.5 million to 17.0 million units. For the last several years, the hallmark of our success has been high-performing, empowered entrepreneurs making decisions closest to our consumers.

We have more than tripled the size of our company, including purchasing of $6 billion in annualized revenues in the past four years alone. These acquisitions are strong franchise assets that historically underperformed their earnings potential. Despite the acquired stores' dilutive effects, we have maintained our strong performance in SG&A to growth and operating margins. We continue to identify, develop and challenge our leaders to capture the considerable earnings dry powder created from our value-based mergers and acquisition strategy.

From an operational perspective on a same-store basis, total sales grew 3%, new vehicle sales were up 3%, retail used vehicle sales increased over 2%, F&I increased 8%, and service and parts sales were up 4%. We sold 67 used vehicles per store per month, up from 66 units in the comparable period last year.

In the quarter, same-store certified units decreased 7%, core units increased 8% and value auto units increased 3%. Again, we continue to make incremental progress towards our goal of 85 used units per store while offsetting the effect of our recent acquisitions that sell fewer than 40 units per month at the time of acquisition.