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AmeriCredit Beats Targets

Shares rise despite light guidance.

Several one-off items helped



earnings exceed analysts' expectations for its fiscal third quarter.

For the three months ending on March 31, the subprime auto finance company's profit rose to $104 million, or 80 cents a share, from $87 million, or 60 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 35% to $615 million.

But AmeriCredit's profit included a $10 million after-tax gain ($16 million before taxes), or 8 cents a share, related to the sale of its investment in DealerTrack and a $21 million gain, or 16 cents a share, adjustment to reserves for contingent tax positions, it said.

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Analysts had estimated that the Fort Worth, Texas-based auto finance firm would earn 68 cents a share on $606.2 million of revenue.

The results include AmeriCredit's January acquisition of "near-prime" lender Long Beach Acceptance, which has lower net interest margin and credit losses.

"Our strong origination volume and improved credit results this quarter reflected both the normal seasonal lifts and the impact of our transition to full-spectrum lending," said Dan Berce, AmeriCredit's CEO. "Full-spectrum lending provides an opportunity to efficiently originate an optimal mix of businesses and positions us to continue to grow our business, manage credit volatility and generate solid returns for our shareholders."

Automobile loan originations rose 56% to $2.5 billion in the quarter. Managed receivables rose 36% to $15.2 billion.

Annualized net charge-offs total 4.6% of the managed receivables, down from 5.2% a year earlier.

AmeriCredit expects to make between $2.65 and $2.85 a share for the year, against a $2.89 Thomson Financial target. In addition, it expects origination volume of $10 billion to $10.5 billion this year. It also expects credit losses, among other things, to average between 4% and 5% of the portfolio this year.

Shares of AmeriCredit rose 22 cents to $25.45 in after market trading.