Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. ( ABG)

Q3 2010 Earnings Conference Call

October 26, 2010 1 PM ET

Executives

Ryan Marsh – Treasurer

Charles Oglesby – President and CEO

Craig Monaghan – SVP and CFO

Michael Kearney – SVP and COO

Analysts

Rick Nelson – Stephens Investment

John Murphy – Bank of America / Merrill Lynch

Dan (ph) – Deutsche Bank

Presentation

Operator

Good day and welcome to Q3 Financial Results Conference Call. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time I would like to turn the conference over to the treasurer, Mr. Ryan Marsh. Please go ahead sir.

Ryan Marsh

Thanks Jill and good morning to everyone. Welcome to Asbury Automotive Group’s Q3 2010 earnings call. Today’s call is being recorded and will be available for replay later today. As you know, the press release detailing Asbury’s Q3 results was issued earlier this morning and is now posted on our website at AsburyYahoo.com.

Participating with us today are Charles Oglesby, our CEO. Craig Monaghan our CFO, and Michael Kearney our COO.

As always, at the conclusion of our remarks, we’ll open the (inaudible) for your questions and I’ll be available in my office afterwards to address any follow up questions that you may have.

Before we begin I must remind you that the discussion during the call today is likely to contain forward looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are those other than which are historical in nature. All forward-looking statements are subject to significant uncertainties and actual results may differ materially from those suggested by the statements.

For information regarding the risks that may cause actual results to differ, please see our filings from the FCC from time to time including our form 10K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009. And any subsequently filed quarterly reports on form 10Q. We expressly disclaim any responsibility to update forward-looking statements.

It is now my pleasure to hand the call over to Charles.

Charles Oglesby

Thanks Ryan. And good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us today.

Today we reported Asbury’s 2010 Q3 income from continuing operations of $.36 versus $.30 from the prior year period; an increase of 20%. As detailed in our earnings release, non-core items reduced the Q3 2010 and 2009 results by $.06 and $.02 per share, respectively. Q3 revenue totaled $1.1 billion, an increase of 9% over the prior year period and we had increases in all of our revenue categories.

Once again, our diversified business model continues to deliver organic growth in what was a relatively flat soar environment, quarter over quarter. I am especially pleased with the strong performance from our used vehicles; with units up 21% and gross profits up 22%. Our focus on increasing used vehicle sales also creates increased parts and service and F&I opportunities. Parts and service revenues were up 2% with gross profits up 6%. F&I revenues were up 21% and light vehicle F&I per vehicle sold was $1020 up 13%.

In our pursuit of operational excellence, we continue to develop common processes, implement best practices, and use technology to enhance productivity and create the best customer experience. This effort is led by our strong portfolio brands; nearly 85% premium luxury and imports which continue to drive our organic growth.

Our continued strong performance allows us to create value for our stakeholders while remaining committed to delivering this value through a balanced approach. As part of our ongoing evaluation of opportunities to improve our balance sheet, this quarter we were successful in completing some open market repurchases of our debt that has further strengthened our financial position. And we believe will allow us to take better advantage of future opportunities.

And now I’ll turn the call over to Craig.

Craig Monaghan

Thanks Charles. We are very happy with our improved performance and particularly the fact that we’re seeing strength in numerous areas. In Q3 revenues increased 9%, gross profit was up 7% and we saw 180 basis point improvement in SG&A as a percentage of gross profit.

As Charles mentioned; our Q3 results from continuing operations of $.36 versus last years $.30 were reduced by non-core items as $.06 and $.02 respectively. The $.06 includes basically two items. The first is real estate related charges of $1.8 million pre-tax or $.03 per diluted share primarily from the termination of our former New York corporate office lease. The second non-core item is a non-cash charge of $1.3 million pre-tax or $.03 per diluted share primarily for the write off of unamortized debt issuance costs associated with our $25 million dollar repurchase of convertible notes in Q3.

We focused on addressing our nearest maturities and after these repurchases we have approximately $29 million of converts outstanding. We continue to evaluate opportunities in the capital markets to further improve our financial position.

Our 2010 four-year capital expenditures target is approximately $25 million to $30 million. Our financial condition remains strong with total available liquidity of approximately $251 million as of September 30. This includes cash and floor plan offset availability of $80 million as well as borrowing availability of $171 million. In October we received an IRS tax refund of $14 million.

I would like to provide a quick update on our ADP/DMS rollout. Our first group of stores went live in September and I am extremely encouraged by the progress our implementation teams have made to date. As far as IT related conversions go, this is by far the smoothest I have seen. We view the DMS conversion as a top company priority and plan on completing the roll out companywide by the end of next summer.

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