AP News

Jefferies analyst rates Bloomin' Brands 'buy'

NEW YORK (AP) — Bloomin' Brands Inc., which owns Outback Steakhouse and other restaurant chains, is positioned to outperform the casual dining segment as a result of sales growth and potential expansion overseas, a Jefferies analyst said Monday.

Analyst Andy Barish initiated his rating on the company at "Buy," noting that he expects a key sales figure to rise 3 percent annually. He cited higher prices, increased traffic from remodeled restaurants and menu innovation as factors that could contribute to that growth.

Barish also noted that Bloomin' has room to grow its international business, which currently makes up about 15 percent of operating profits. Bloomin' Brands, based in Tampa, Fla., had its initial public offering in August; Jefferies acted as a co-lead manager in the offering.

The company's other chains include Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill. It operates more than 1,400 restaurants in 48 states and 20 countries. Its name comes from a signature dish at Outback Steakhouse, an onion carved to resemble a flower that is then deep fried.

Its shares rose 25 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $14.65 in premarket trading Monday. That would be a new high if it carries over into regular trading. Its previous high was $14.59 reached on Friday. Bloomin' priced its IPO this summer at $11, below the $13 to $15 it originally expected.

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