Group 1 Falls as Profit Falls Short of Estimates

Group 1 Automotive Inc. plunged the most in more than eight months after the auto-dealership group’s fourth-quarter profit trailed analysts’ estimates.

The shares slid 7.5 percent to $61.62 at the close in New York for the biggest daily decline since June 1. The Houston-based company’s stock had gained 7.5 percent this year through Feb. 15, as the Standard & Poor’s 600 Smallcap Index rose 8.4 percent.

Group 1 reported quarterly profit excluding some items of 99 cents a share, less than the $1.19 average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Net income fell to $17.1 million, or 70 cents a share, from $20.9 million, or 90 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement today.

“We missed some opportunities to maximize profits,” Chief Executive Officer Earl Hesterberg said in the statement.

The company has been revamping its roster of dealerships, acquiring 16 in 2012 while selling off six franchises. Group 1 last month agreed to buy a Brazilian dealership group to expand into that nation’s fast-growing market.

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