AP News

Brinker shares up on strong forecast


DALLAS (AP) — Brinker International Inc.'s shares rose to their highest level in more than five years Thursday after the restaurant chain operator said that higher prices and an increased number of customers in its restaurants boosted its fourth-quarter net income.

The Dallas-based company, which runs the Chili's and Maggiano's chains and has a stake in Romano's Macaroni Grill, also forecast better-than-expected earnings for its full fiscal year.

Shares rose $1.87, or 5.7 percent, to $34.43 in trading Thursday after rising as high as $35.18 during the session, its highest level since February 2007.

Brinker reported net income of $47 million, or 61 cents per share, for the quarter that ended June 27. That's up from $41.9 million, or 49 cents per share, earned in the same quarter.

Excluding special items, it earned 61 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the company to earn 58 cents per share.

The company was also helped in part by fewer shares this year, which boosts their value.

Brinker's revenue increased to $728.4 million from $717.5 million. Analysts expected revenue of $734.3 million.

The company reported gains in a key sales measure at both Chili's and Maggiano's. Revenue from its Chili's restaurants open at least a year increased 2.2 per cent for the quarter. The same measure increased 1.9 percent at Maggiano's. This is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

Brinker reported net income of $151.2 million, or $1.87 per share, for its 2012 fiscal year. That's compared with $141.1 million, or $1.53 per share, in the prior year.

Annual revenue increased to $2.82 billion from $2.76 billion last year.

Brinker said that based on its current trends, it expects to earn $2.30 to $2.45 per share on an adjusted basis for its 2013 fiscal year. Analysts expect earnings of $2.28 per share.


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