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Sonic posts earnings, avoids bankruptcy

Sonic Automotive posted a profit for the first quarter, weeks after the Fortune 500 company submitted a regulatory filing stating it might have to file for bankruptcy. WFAE's Simone Orendain has more: Sonic Automotive reported a profit of about $1.7 million in the first quarter. That's down 87 percent from the same period last year when it had a profit of $12.6 million. The Charlotte-based auto dealer also posted lower revenues of $1.2 billion for the quarter, down from $1.6 billion a year ago. Despite the lowered earnings, Sonic President Scott Smith was optimistic when he spoke to investors this morning. "Our continued focus of executing the basic blocking and tackling of our playbook produced solid results in a most difficult automotive environment in at least a generation," Smith said. The recession has battered auto sales and Sonic, one of the country's largest auto dealers, saw its stock decline sharply to below a dollar in March. The company is saddled with more than a billion dollars in debt. Sonic announced this week it avoided filing for bankruptcy because it was able to refinance with a combination of cash, common stock and new debt.