AutoNation earnings beat Wall Street estimates on strong sales

Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:48am EST

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Jan 31 (Reuters) - AutoNation Inc, the largest U.S. auto dealer group, said strong new vehicle sales boosted its fourth-quarter net income by 20 percent and revenue by 13 percent.

AutoNation reported fourth quarter net income of $83.2 million, or 67 cents per share, versus $69.4 million, or 49 cents per share a year ago. Fourth-quarter revenue was $4.17 billion, up from $3.68 billion a year before.

Excluding one-time items, AutoNation's earnings per share of 67 cents beat analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expectations of 64 cents.

For the full year 2012, AutoNation posted net income of $316.4 million, compared with $281.4 million in 2011.

New-vehicle sales in the fourth quarter rose 19 percent to $2.48 billion.

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