July 22, 2014 / 11:20 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Luxury vehicle sales boost Asbury's profit

* Second-qtr luxury car sales rise 13 pct

* Profit $1.18/shr vs est $1.09/shr

* Revenue rises 12 pct to $1.50 bln (Adds details, background, shares)

July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. auto dealer Asbury Automotive Group Inc posted a better-than-expected 33 percent jump in quarterly profit, driven by strong demand for luxury vehicles.

The company, which gets most of its revenue from the sale of luxury and mid-line cars made by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda, said it sold 13 percent more luxury cars at stores opened for at least a year.

Total new vehicle sales were up 12 percent for the second quarter ended June 30, the company said.

Overall U.S. auto sales rose 1.2 percent in June, beating expectations of a decline of 3 percent, according to industry consultant Autodata Corp.

General Motors Co beat Wall Street’s low expectations as well as negative publicity over a flood of safety recalls, reporting a 1 percent rise in U.S. sales in June.

Larger rival Autonation Inc also posted strong results last week on the back of increased new vehicle sales. .

Asbury’s net income rose to $35.9 million, or $1.18 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $27 million, or 87 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 12 percent to $1.50 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.09 per share on revenue $1.47 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s shares closed at $70.78 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. They have risen about 57 percent in the past year, compared with a 16 percent gain in the S&P 500 Index . (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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