Group 1 Automotive Inc.'s first-quarter net income rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier to $35.8 million on improving business conditions in the U.S. oil patch, along with the recent U.S. tax cut. Operations in the U.K. and Brazil also contributed to the gains.
The first-quarter results included $3 million in costs associated with a one-time bonus to certain U.S. employees, and approximately $3 million in costs associated with the company's strategic initiatives in used vehicles and parts and service, the nation's third-largest dealership group said in a statement.
Higher oil prices are boosting job growth in Texas and Oklahoma, and those high-paying energy jobs are likely to help the group going forward given its concentration of dealerships in energy-producing regions of the U.S.
"We are finally starting to see a brighter picture in energy-related markets," said CEO Earl Hesterberg on a conference call with analysts. "Things are really much brighter in the oil patch now, probably the brightest in three years."