Carvana (CVNA) earnings Q1 2024

Vehicles are seen on display at a Carvana dealership in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 20, 2023.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

Shares of Carvana popped more than 30% during after-hours trading Wednesday after the automaker reported record results and turned a profit during the first quarter.

Here is how the company performed in the first quarter, compared with average estimates compiled by LSEG:

  • Earnings per share: 23 cents — it was not immediately clear if it was comparable to the loss of 74 cents expected
  • Revenue: $3.06 billion vs. $2.67 billion expected

Carvana reported record first-quarter net income of $49 million, compared to a $286 million loss during the prior-year period. It also posted an all-time-best adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of $235 million, up from a $24 million loss a year earlier.

The company’s gross profit per unit, or GPU, which is closely watched by investors, was $6,432. Carvana’s adjusted EBITDA profit margin for the quarter was 7.7%.

Carvana’s net income included a roughly $75 million gain in the fair value of Carvana’s warrants to acquire Root Inc. common stock. This did not impact its GPU or adjusted EBITDA.

“In the first quarter, we delivered our best results in company history, validating our long-held belief that Carvana’s online retail model can drive industry-leading profitability while delivering industry-leading customer experiences,” Carvana CEO and Chairman Ernie Garcia III said in a release.

Garcia said the company’s performance was driven by efficiency gains in its operations, especially the reconditioning of vehicles for sale as well as selling, general, and administrative expenses, among other areas.

Carvana expects to continue to grow its adjusted EBITDA profit margin further as the company continues to grow, according to Garcia. He declined to disclose how much high the company believes it can grow those results.

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Carvana’s stock in 2024

“I really do think in terms of just a single quarter carrying meaning about what the future holds for us. If we execute properly, I think this is probably our biggest quarter and it feels awesome,” Garcia told CNBC during a phone interview Wednesday night.

The company anticipates further cost reductions or efficiency gains to increase profitability through areas such as advertising as well as overhead and operational expenses.

Garcia said Carvana also is working on increasing vehicle reconditioning and profitably rebuilding its vehicle inventory, which was nearing an all-time monthly low of 13 days’ supply in March. It has increased its reconditioning capacity of vehicles to prepare for sale by roughly 60% during the past year.

“Acquiring inventories, generally speaking, feel relatively straightforward to scale, but growing the recondition capacity is difficult,” he told CNBC. “Inventory today is certainly tighter than we would like for it to be. We’re working hard to build it back up, but we’re extremely well positioned to do it.”

The results follow a major restructuring by the company over the past two years to focus on profitability rather than growth, after bankruptcy concerns when Carvana’s stock lost nearly all of its value in 2022.

Shares of the company have recovered since then. They had climbed roughly 67% year to date before the company reported its first-quarter results. The stock closed Wednesday up about 5% at $87.09 per share.

A joint letter to shareholders from Garcia and finance chief Mark Jenkins said the company has prioritized growth, but doing so profitability.

“We are now focused on our long-term phase of driving profitable growth and pursuing our goal of becoming the largest and most profitable auto retailer and buying and selling millions of cars,” read the shareholder letter.

For the second quarter, the company said it expects a sequential increase in its year-over-year growth rate in retail units, and a sequential increase in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

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