Wendy's/Arby's tallies strong E.B.I.T.D.A. growth

by Bryan Salvage
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ATLANTA – Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc., the third-largest quick-service restaurant company in the U.S., announced a fourth-quarter 2009 net loss of $13.6 million, or $0.03 per share, including after-tax net special charges of $44.5 million, or $0.10 per share. Its fourth-quarter 2008 net loss was $393.2 million, or $0.84 per share, including after-tax net special charges of $417.7 million, or $0.89 per share.

Adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A., excluding pre-tax integration-related costs and non-recurring net charges of $20.7 million, was $103.3 million, and increased 38.9% as compared to 2008 fourth-quarter adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A. of $74.4 million, excluding pre-tax integration-related costs of $5.0 million. Consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter were $900.9 million.

Net income for 2009 was $5.1 million, or $0.01 per share, including after-tax special charges of $84.7 million, or $0.18 per share. 2008 pro forma net loss was $492.0 million, or $1.05 per share, including after-tax special charges of $565.9 million, or $1.21 per share.

Adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A. for 2009, excluding pre-tax integration-related costs and non-recurring net charges of $40.8 million, was $425.2 million, and increased 15.9% as compared to pro-forma 2008 adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A. of $366.9 million, excluding pre-tax integration-related costs of $8.3 million and special committee charges of $84.2 million. Consolidated revenues were $3.6 billion in 2009.

The company’s 2010 outlook includes:

* Adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A. growth in the low to mid-single digits, excluding the effect of the 53rd week in 2009 and an incremental expense for Wendy’s breakfast program in 2010 to expand into additional markets.

* Positive same-store sales at Wendy’s.

* Negative same-store sales at Arby’s, but improving on a year-over-year basis.

* Capital expenditures of approximately $165 million in 2010, up from approximately $102 million in 2009,

Wendy’s company-operated restaurant margin was 15.9% for the fourth quarter, compared to 11.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008, reflecting 420 basis points of improvement. For the fourth quarter of 2009, Wendy’s total revenue was $630.2 million compared to revenue of $605.4 million in the fourth quarter a year ago, a year-over-year increase of $24.8 million due primarily to the effect of the additional week in the quarter offset by lower company same-store sales.

For the full-year of 2009, Wendy’s total revenue was $2.4 billion compared to $2.4 billion a year ago on a pro-forma basis. Wendy’s company-operated restaurant margin was 14.9% as compared to 11.6% for pro-forma 2008, reflecting 330 basis points of improvement.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, Arby’s total revenue was $270.8 million compared to $291.1 million in the fourth quarter a year ago, a decrease of $20.3 million. Arby’s company-operated restaurant margin was 14.2% in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to 14.6% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For the full-year of 2009, Arby’s total revenue was $1.1 billion compared to $1.2 billion for 2008. Arby’s company-operated restaurant margin was 13.9% as compared to 16.1% for 2008, reflecting a decrease of 220 basis points.

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