DETROIT -- Car dealership group UnitedAuto Group Inc. on Tuesday posted stronger fourth-quarter earnings, driven by higher sales of new and used vehicles.
UnitedAuto, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said earnings rose to $20.1 million, or 48 cents per share, up from $0.7 million, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The company said revenue rose 18 percent to $2.2 billion in the quarter. In addition to new and used-vehicle revenue, UnitedAuto said sales of service and parts, along with revenue from financing, also grew in the quarter.
Last November, United Auto said it expected fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents to 49 cents per share. Analysts had expected the company to earn 47 cents per share, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters PLC.
UnitedAuto said it would sell 4,050,000 shares of common stock to Mitsui & Co. Ltd. in a private placement for about $119.4 million. In a statement, Chairman Roger Penske said the proceeds would be used to reduce leverage and for future acquisitions.
UnitedAuto said adjusting for the private sale, it was forecasting full-year earnings in a range of $2.17 to $2.22 per share, with first-quarter earnings of 43 cents to 47 cents per share.