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Sonic Reports 25% Increase In Fourth Quarter Earnings

Stocks in this article: SONC

Development

For fiscal 2012 there were 37 new drive-in openings including 36 new franchise drive-ins. Across the Sonic system, a total of 18 new drive-ins were opened in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, of which 17 were opened by franchisees, versus 17 new drive-in openings during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, of which 14 were franchise drive-ins.

Fiscal Year 2013 Outlook

The company expects its initiatives to drive sales improvements going forward. However, uncertainty with regard to the macroeconomic environment and its impact on consumer confidence may result in sales volatility. The outlook for fiscal 2013 anticipates the following elements:

  • Positive same-store sales in the low single digit range;
  • Slightly more new franchise drive-in openings than fiscal 2012;
  • Restaurant-level margins to improve between 50 to 100 basis points, depending upon the degree of same-store sales growth at company drive-ins;
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses of $68 million to $69 million;
  • Depreciation and amortization expense of $41 million to $42 million;
  • Net interest expense of approximately $29 million;
  • An income tax rate of between 38% and 38.5%, which may vary depending upon the reinstatement of employment tax credit programs;
  • Capital expenditures of $30 million to $40 million, which assumes the implementation of a new point-of-sale system in company drive-ins during calendar year 2013; and
  • Free cash flow of $45 million to $55 million.

About Sonic

Sonic, America's Drive-In, originally started as a hamburger and root beer stand in 1953 in Shawnee, Oklahoma called Top Hat Drive-In, and then changed its name to Sonic in 1959. The first drive-in to adopt the Sonic name is still serving customers in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Sonic has more than 3,500 drive-ins coast to coast, where approximately three million customers eat every day. For more information about Sonic Corp. and its subsidiaries, visit Sonic at www.sonicdrivein.com.

Earnings Conference Call

The company will host a conference call and online web simulcast this afternoon beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing (888) 600-4883 or (913) 312-1298 for international callers. A replay will be available one hour after the call and can be accessed by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517 for international callers; the conference ID is 4719115. The replay will be available until Tuesday, October 23, 2012. An online replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the live broadcast. A link to this event will be available on the investor section of the company's website, www.sonicdrivein.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements reflect management's expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or underlying, these forward-looking statements are detailed in the company's annual and quarterly report filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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