Penske Net Falls 63%

Penske Automotive Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. retailer of cars and trucks, said quarterly profit fell 63 percent, a smaller decline than analysts estimated, as sales expenses declined. Chief Executive Officer Roger Penske said on a call with analysts that negotiations with General Motors Co. on his company’s acquisition of GM’s Saturn brand “are past midfield," and that “we would still hope to have them completed by the end of September." The company signed a memorandum of understanding on a purchase last month.

Penske’s profit declined as U.S. sales of cars and light trucks failed to reach a 10 million annual pace in the quarter, after averaging 14.1 million a year earlier. Consumers, worried about rising unemployment and tighter credit, bought fewer vehicles. Penske’s revenue fell 30 percent to $2.32 billion.

Profit adjusted for one-time items was 22 cents a share, Penske said. That beat the 15-cent average of 7 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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