AP News

Dunkin' Brands 4Q results top analysts' estimates

CANTON, Mass. (AP) — Dunkin' Brands reported a 23 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as more customers came into its stores and spent more money when they were there.

The company topped Wall Street expectations for profit and revenue, raised its quarterly dividend 21 percent and announced a two-year share buyback program of as much as $125 million.

Dunkin' shares, which have traded at all-time highs in recent months, rose more than 2 percent before the opening bell Thursday.

For the three months ended Dec. 28, Dunkin' Brands earned $42.1 million, or 39 cents per share. That compares with $34.3 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding certain items, earnings were 43 cents per share, which was 3 cents better than analysts had projected.

Revenue climbed 13 percent to $183.2 million from $161.7 million, which also topped Wall Street estimates of $179.5 million, according to a poll by FactSet.

In the U.S., sales at Dunkin' Donuts locations open at least a year rose 3.5 percent. Beverage sales were very strong, led by iced coffee and hot and iced espresso.

The company's Baskin-Robbins locations in the U.S. posted a 2.2 percent comparable-store sales increase.

Industry analysts pay close attention to same-stores sales because the metric strips away the volatility from stores recently opened and closed, providing them with a clearer picture of a retailer's health.

Full-year net-income increased 36 percent to $146.9 million, or $1.36 per share, from $108.3 million, or 93 cents per share, in the previous year.

Adjusted earnings were $1.53 per share.

Annual revenue rose 8 percent to $713.8 million from $658.2 million.

For fiscal 2014, Dunkin' Brands anticipates adjusted earnings between $1.79 and $1.83 per share, which is in line with Wall Street projections. Revenue is expected to rise 6 percent to 8 percent.

The board at declared a quarterly dividend of 23 cents per share, up 21 percent from the prior quarter's dividend of 19 cents per share.

The dividend will be paid on March 19 to shareholders of record on March 10.

Shares of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., based in Canton, Mass., rose $1.20 to $48.50 in premarket trading. Shares hit an all-time high of $49.48 in late November.

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