UPDATE 1-Asbury Automotive Q1 earnings up; sees Japan disruption


* Q1 EPS $0.59 vs $0.22 a year ago

* Q1 rev up 18 pct

* Says sees Japan-related supply disruptions (Follows alerts)

April 27 (Reuters) - Auto dealer Asbury Automotive Group Inc posted higher quarterly earnings, driven by increased sales of new and used light vehicles, but said it expects "meaningful" supply disruptions due to the Japan earthquake and related events.

"We are working to mitigate the situation through ... expanding our used vehicle business, seeking higher margins on vehicle sales, and more actively managing inventory across stores ...," Chief Operating Officer Michael Kearney said.

The top-selling brands in terms of sales at Asbury's stores are Japanese automakers Honda Motor Co , Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor Corp .

For the first quarter, the sixth-largest U.S. auto dealer group reported earnings of $19.9 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with $7.4 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, it earned 35 cents a share from continuing operations.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $1 billion.

New vehicle sales rose 20 percent to $571.2 million while used vehicle sales rose 21 percent to $301.4 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 35 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company closed at $16.94 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila) (bijoy.koyitty@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: bijoy.koyitty.reuters.com@reuters.net))



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