* Sales up 21 pct on acquisitions
* Forecasts higher margins, earnings in second half
* Shares up 1.9 percent
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Uni-Select Inc UNS.TO, a Canadian distributor of auto parts and tools, posted a 21 percent rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by recent acquisitions.
And for the second half of the year, the Boucherville, Quebec-based company forecast higher margins and earnings.
For the second quarter, Uni-Select’s net earnings climbed to C$15.4 million ($14.4 million), or 78 Canadian cents a share, from C$12.7 million, or 64 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
Analysts had expected, on average, a profit of 75 Canadian cents a share before special items, according to Reuters Estimates.
Sales were up 21 percent at C$384.2 million as a result of acquisitions the company has made over the past few quarters.
Uni-Select agreed last August to buy the mid-Atlantic parts distribution operations of Parts Depot Inc, which consisted of nine parts distribution warehouses and 67 parts stores located mostly in the eastern United States.
Earlier in 2008 it bought an automotive replacement parts distributor specializing in foreign nameplate vehicles.
Uni-Select said sales at its Automotive Group USA unit rose to C$241.5 million in the second quarter from C$168.2 million in the year-before period. Acquisitions contributed C$51.6 million of the higher sales.
Sales at its Automotive Group Canada unit slid to C$142.6 million from C$149.5 million in the second quarter of 2008.
“Our cost improvement program instituted in 2008 that includes integration and reorganization initiatives should increase our margins and earnings in the second half of 2009,” Richard Roy, president and chief executive of Uni-Select, said in a statement.
The company’s shares were up 50 Canadian cents at C$26.75 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon.
$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Peter Galloway