MEDFORD — Spurred by service and used vehicle sales, Lithia on Wednesday reported its 26th consecutive quarter of record per share earnings during the first quarter of 2017.
The Medford-based auto retailer reported net income of more than $50.7 million, up 26 percent from nearly $40.3 million a year ago, on revenue of more than $2.2 billion, a 12.3 percent gain over the $2 billion first quarter 2016 figure.
Per share earnings increased 30 percent to $2.01 from $1.55 in the first quarter of 2016.
The nation’s fourth-largest auto retailer reported an overall same-store sales gain of 3 percent, led by an 8 percent bump in service, body and parts, and a 6 percent sales revenue increase in used vehicles. New vehicle sales were flat.
Lithia President and CEO Bryan DeBoer credited the performance to his company’s disciplined acquisition strategy and strong operational execution.
“A significant number of stores still have ample opportunity to improve,” DeBoer said. “Since 2010, we have grown our revenue four-fold and our (per share earnings) seven-fold, all while currently maintaining a leverage ratio of less than two.”
DeBoer said Lithia anticipated similar or accelerated acquisitions throughout 2017 and beyond.
“The ability to flex our balance sheet coupled with our free cash flow provides capacity to continue acquisitions,” DeBoer told analysts and investors during a conference call. “As one of the fastest-growing companies in the Fortune 500, we’re at the nexus of retail and transportation, facing continual evolution.”
, which will bring considerable opportunities.”
The company also announced an 8 percent increase in its dividend to 27 cents per share, payable on May 26 to shareholders of record on May 12.