Advance Auto Parts profit beats Street estimates

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News,Business

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Advance Auto Parts Inc. said its fourth-quarter profit fell 24 percent on costs related to the acquisition of two car parts suppliers.

But its adjusted earnings and its forecast for 2014 beat Wall Street expectations, driving its shares to an all-time high Thursday.

The Roanoke, Va., seller of windshield wipers, batteries and other auto parts acquired privately held Northeast car parts supplier B.W.P. Distributors Inc. in late 2012. Last month, it completed a $2.04 billion deal for privately held distributor and supplier General Parts International Inc., which the companies said would create the biggest automotive replacement parts provider in North America.

It now operates more than 5,295 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Advanced Auto Parts reported net income of $49.3 million, or 67 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $65.1 million, or 88 cents per share, a year ago.

It said its adjusted earnings were 94 cents per share, easily beating the 81 cents per share consensus of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue increased 6 percent to $1.41 billion from $1.33 billion a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $1.39 billion.

Its shares rose $15.21, or 13.7 percent, to $125.96 in midday trading after rising as high as $127.09 earlier, an all-time high, according to FactSet. Its shares are up more than 72 percent for the past year.

For the full year of 2013, the company said it earned $391.76 million, or $5.32 per share, on revenue of $6.49 billion.

Advance Auto Parts expects full-year adjusted earnings for 2014 of between $7.20 and $7.40 per share. Analysts expect $7.10 per share.

When vehicle sales tumbled a few years ago, auto parts retailers such as Advance Auto Parts got a sales boost, as more Americans kept their vehicles longer and invested more in keeping them running.

But Americans have been buying new cars and trucks at a healthy pace, fueled by low interest rates, better credit availability and aging cars that need replacement.

Analysts expect full-year U.S. auto sales of around 16.2 million. Sales last topped 16 million in 2007, just ahead of the recession. They bottomed out at a 30-year low of 10.4 million in 2009.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .

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