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AutoZone, Thor Industries, Asbury Automotive, Lithia Motors and Ford

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Chicago, IL – December 14, 2021 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured on the Analysts Blog. Every day, Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and financial markets. Recent actions featured in the blog include: AutoZone, Inc. AZO, Thor Industries, Inc. THO, Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. ABG, Lithia Motors, Inc. LAD, and Ford Motor Company F.

Here are highlights from Monday’s analyst blog:

Auto Inventory Gathering: Mega Buyouts, New Factories Abroad and More

Last week an auto parts retailer Automatic zone and first manufacturer of recreational vehicles Thor industries produced better than expected quarterly results. Automotive Retailer Asbury Automotive Group grabbed the limelight with the takeover of Stevinson Automotive, which is expected to add $ 715 million in annualized revenue for the former. Lithia Motors continued its buyout frenzy by buying three Ford stores from Elder Auto Group. American auto giant Ford also made the news of the week with the decision to invest $ 900 million for the renovation of manufacturing facilities in Thailand.

Meanwhile, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers released November data on vehicle sales in the world’s largest auto market, which once again shows that the chip shortage has taken its toll on the market. automobile industry. Vehicle sales in the country fell 9.1% year-on-year to 2.52 million units, falling for the seventh consecutive month. Nonetheless, electric vehicles in China managed to keep up the momentum, with sales of new energy vehicles exploding 121% to 450,000 units in November.

The best stories of the last week

1. Automatic zone reported earnings of $ 25.69 per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 (ended November 20, 2021), up from the figure of $ 18.61 a year earlier. Net income also exceeded Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 20.83 on robust comparable sales growth. National same-store sales rose 13.6%, handily beating Zacks’ consensus estimate of 3.9%. Net sales increased 16.3% year-on-year to $ 3,668.9 million and topped Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 3,358 million.

AutoZone had cash and cash equivalents of $ 961.1 million as of November 20, 2021, compared to $ 1,664 million as of November 21, 2020. Total debt stood at $ 5,271.3 million as of November 20, 2021, down from $ 5,514.8 million for the corresponding period of 2020. During the first fiscal quarter, it repurchased 515,000 shares for $ 900 million at an average price of $ 1,749 per share. AZO has approximately $ 1 billion worth of shares remaining under the current buyback authorization.

2. Asbury completed the acquisition of Stevinson Automotive. Operating assets taken over by Stevinson include eight new vehicle franchises – two Lexus, two Toyota, one Porsche, one Chevrolet, one Hyundai and one Jaguar, and an additional Land Rover open point. All of the acquired dealers are located in the Denver market. The Denver market is one of the most economically dynamic markets in the United States and is ideal for strong automotive brands.

The acquisition will strengthen Asbury’s growing footprint in the attractive and dynamic Denver market with the help of a respected and successful dealer group like Stevinson. The purchase will add approximately $ 715 million in annualized revenue to ABG, giving the company an edge in executing the five-year plan of generating $ 20 billion in annual revenue by 2025.

3. Lithia bought three Ford stores from the Elder Auto group. Elder Ford of Tampa would increase Lithia Motor’s domestic footprint in Florida, Region 6 and Elder Ford of Troy and Elder Ford of Romeo will increase the density of Michigan operations in Region 3. Stores are expected to jointly generate $ 425 million in revenue annualized. The existing capacity on the balance sheet was used to finance the acquisitions.

The addition of the Elder Ford stores is expected to bring LAD’s total expected annualized revenue for 2021 to nearly $ 7 billion. The company is already on the verge of surpassing the five-year plan benchmark, announced in July 2020, to reach $ 50 billion in revenue and $ 50 in earnings per share. Lithia currently wears a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold). You can see The full list of Zacks # 1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks today here.

4. Ford announced the decision to invest 900 million dollars (28 billion THB) for the renovation of its manufacturing facilities in Thailand. It is the largest investment ever made by the automotive group in the country and brings its total investments in Thailand to more than 3.4 billion dollars (100 billion THB) over 25 years. More than $ 400 million (THB 13 billion) of the planned investment will go to the company’s supply chain network.

As part of the Ford + plan for growth and value creation, the disbursement aims to invest in new advanced technologies and systems. It will also support production of the next-generation Ranger pickup truck (one of Ford’s largest and most popular vehicles) and the next-generation Everest SUV. The modernization program will be implemented through the Ford Thailand Manufacturing and AutoAlliance Thailand truck plant, wholly owned by Ford, its joint venture with Japanese company Mazda Corporation.

5. Thor posted adjusted earnings of $ 4.34 per share, which topped Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 3.10 and jumped 111.7% from profit of $ 2.05 for the year last. The company reported revenue of $ 3,958.2 million for the quarter under review, beating Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 3,397 million and up 56% year-over-year. As of October 31, 2021, Thor had cash and cash equivalents of $ 339.3 million and long-term debt of $ 2,232.3 million. The consolidated backlog at the end of the quarter was $ 18.07 billion.

In a separate development, Thor announced the acquisition of Elkhart Composites, Inc. The acquisition will provide Thor with an unlimited supply of Elkboard, a superior and state-of-the-art product already used in many of the VR offerings from Thor. THO is committed to investing substantial capital in Elkboard to increase its current production capacity.

What’s next in the auto space?

Industry watchers will be keeping an eye on November passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union, which will likely be released by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers this week. Plus, stay tuned for updates on how automakers are tackling the semiconductor shortage and making changes in business operations.

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