AutoNation, Inc. ( AN )

Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

July 22, 2010 11:00 am ET

Executives

Cheryl Scully – Treasurer and VP, IR

Mike Jackson – Chairman and CEO

Mike Short – EVP and CFO

Mike Maroone – President and COO

Analysts

Ravi Shanker – Morgan Stanley

John Murphy – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Rick Nelson – Stephens, Incorporated

Patrick Archambault – Goldman Sachs

Dan Gallatin – Deutsche Bank

Himanshu Patel – J.P. Morgan

Matthew Nemer – Wells Fargo

Colin Langan – UBS

Brian Sponheimer – Gabelli

Presentation

Operator

Thank you for standing by, and welcome to AutoNation's second quarter earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Today's conference call is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I will now turn the call over to Ms. Cheryl Scully, Treasurer and Vice President of Investor Relations for AutoNation. Ma'am, you may begin.

Cheryl Scully

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to AutoNation's second quarter 2010 conference call. Leading our call today will be Mike Jackson, our chairman and CEO; Mike Maroone, our president and chief operating officer; and, Mike Short, our chief financial officer. Following their remarks, we'll open up the call for questions. I will also be available by phone following the call to address any additional questions you may have.

Before we begin, let me read our brief statement regarding forward-looking comments and the use of non-GAAP financial measures. Certain statements and information on this call will constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, which may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Additional discussions of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are contained in our SEC filings.

Certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined under SEC rules may be discussed on this call. Reconciliations are provided in our press release, which is available on our website at  www.autonation.com.

And now, I'd like to turn the call over to AutoNation's chairman and chief executive officer, Mike Jackson.

Mike Jackson

Good morning. Thank you for joining us. Today, we reported second quarter adjusted EPS from continuing operations of $0.38, a 36% increase, compared to adjusted EPS from continuing operations of $0.28 in the prior year. On a GAAP basis, we reported EPS as $0.31, compared to $0.30 a year ago. Second quarter 2010 revenue totaled $3.1 billion, compared to $2.6 billion in the year ago period, an increase of 20%. And we had increases in all of our revenue categories.

In the second quarter, total US industry new vehicle retail unit sales increased 12% based on CNW research data. In comparison, during the same period, AutoNation's new vehicle unit sales increased 20%.

The key to our top lying growth is driving operational excellence through the use of leading technology and processes, combined with inventory optimization. Combining with our best-in-class disciplined cost structure, we will continue to drive our industry-leading margins.

We believe that we have a compelling opportunity to create significant value for our shareholders over the next several years as the industry recovers. We have made a major investment of over a half a billion dollars in our company through stock repurchases together with the acquisitions that we announced and our continued reinvestment in our existing stores, reflecting our confidence in AutoNation's financial and operating strength and the long term prospects in the auto industry. The combination of these drivers presents a significant long term growth and value-creation opportunity.

With that, now, I'd like to turn it over to our chief financial officer, Mike Short.

Mike Short

Thank you, Mike, and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Starting to our financial results for the second quarter, we reported adjusted net income from continuing operations of $62 million or $0.38 per share, versus $50.2 million or $0.28 per share during the second quarter of 2009. Our second recorded results for this year excludes $12.1 million or $0.07 per share of expenses related to debt refinancing costs and the write-off of certain prior deal costs following the refinancing transaction we completed in April.

Our second quarter prior year results exclude a net gain on asset sales of $3.7 million, or $0.02 per share. Adjustments to net income are included in the reconciliations provided in our press release.

Compared to last year, revenue increased $512 million or 20%, and gross profit improved by $57 million or 12%. SG&A increased 6% as variable expenses such as sales commissions increased in line with higher sales volume and gross profit, and we continued to leverage our fixed cost structure. SG&A was 72.5% of gross profit, a reduction of 390 basis points year-over-year, and down 110 basis points sequentially from the first quarter of 2010, reflecting our continued effective management of our cost structure.

Net new vehicle floor plan was a benefit of $4.7 million in the quarter, an improvement of $2.5 million from the second quarter of last year. Non-vehicle interest expense was $14.7 million for the quarter, up from the $10.5 million we reported last year through our refinancing, which closed in April. The refinancing increased our percentage of fixed rate debt and increased our pricing under our revolver in our term loan facilities from LIBOR plus 87.5 basis points to LIBOR plus 225 basis points.

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