Auto Repair Parts Maker LKQ's 1Q Profit Jumps 67 Pct.

DETROIT (AP) -- Auto repair parts maker LKQ Corp. saw its first-quarter profit jump 67 percent as demand for parts grew and commodity prices dropped, the company said Thursday.

Chicago-based LKQ made $53.9 million in the January through March period, up $21.6 million from the $32.3 million net income reported for the same period last year.

The company earned 37 cents per share for the quarter, up from 23 cents in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 18 percent to $603.5 million from $510.9 million.

Income from continuing operations was 36 cents per share for the quarter. That beat Wall Street expectations. Excluding special items and discontinued operations, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected earnings of 28 cents per share on revenue of $588.7 million.

Shares of LKQ rose 20 cents, or just under 1 percent, to $21.40 in midday trading. Earlier in the session the stock traded at a 52-week high of $22.

"The results reflect the strength of our parts sales businesses and improved economies of scale," CEO Joseph Holsten said in a statement. "Higher parts and services revenue combined with improved commodity prices led to overall organic revenue growth of 10.7 percent."

LKQ also entered the tire recycling business during the quarter by acquiring a company in Sterling, Connecticut, and it opened self-service retail sites in Georgia and North Carolina.

The company also raised its earnings guidance for the rest of the year. It now expects full-year income from continuing operations in a range of $154 million to $163 million, or $1.06 to $1.12 per share.

Previous guidance was $145 million to $155 million, or $1 to $1.06 per share.

Analysts expect $1.05 per share, on average.

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