Car dealership operator AutoCanada boosts dividend as Q3 profit soars

EDMONTON – AutoCanada Inc. (TSX:ACQ) announced Friday a 20 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend as the car dealership operator reported third-quarter profits more than doubled.

The Edmonton-based company, one of Canada’s largest multi-location automobile dealership groups, said profits in the quarter soared to $5.2 million or 26 cents a share.

That was an increase from net earning of $2 million or 10 cents per share in the same 2010 period.

Revenue in the three months ended Sept. 30 was also up sharply, to $270.1 million from $231.3 million.

“New vehicle sales and the resulting finance and insurance product sales contributed to the significant increase in earnings,” CEO Pat Priestner said in a statement accompanying the results.

“We are also happy with the improvements made in used vehicle volumes and gross profit,” he said.

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The company’s board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to 12 cents from 10 cents, payable Dec. 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business Nov. 30.

AutoCanada, which reported its results after markets closed, operates 22 franchised dealerships in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, its shares closed up five cents at $4.40 on Friday.