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AFC Enterprises Reports Preliminary Fiscal 2012 Operating Results; Expected To Beat Prior Fiscal 2012 Earnings Guidance

Stocks in this article: AFCE

AFC Enterprises, Inc., the franchisor and operator of Popeyes® restaurants, today reported selected unaudited results for its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year which ended December 30, 2012.

Global same-store sales increased 6.0% in the fourth quarter, on top of a 5.8% increase last year. For the full year, global same store sales increased 6.8% compared to a 3.1% increase in 2011, exceeding the Company’s previous guidance of positive 6% to 6.5%.

During the fourth quarter, the Popeyes system opened 42 domestic and 20 international restaurants, bringing full year 2012 openings to 141 restaurants, compared to 140 restaurants last year. Openings were in line with the Company’s previous guidance of 140 to 150 new restaurants. The Popeyes system permanently closed 75 restaurants in fiscal 2012, resulting in net unit growth of 66 restaurants, compared to 65 net restaurants in 2011. The 2012 net unit growth was in the range of the Company’s previous guidance of 65-85 net restaurants.

The Company expects final general and administrative expenses for fiscal 2012 will be approximately $67.6 million. At approximately 3.0% of system-wide sales, the Company’s general and administrative expenses remain among the most efficient in the restaurant industry. The Company’s previous guidance was $67 to 68 million at approximately 3.0% of system-wide sales.

Based on its fourth quarter sales and store opening performance, the Company now expects fiscal 2012 reported earnings per diluted share (“EPS”) will be $1.23-$1.24, compared to $0.97 in fiscal 2011, an increase of 27%. Adjusted EPS for fiscal 2012, which included approximately $0.01 for the 53rd week of operations, is now expected to be $1.23-$1.24, compared to adjusted EPS of $0.99 last year. This is an increase from the Company's previous 2012 adjusted EPS guidance of $1.19-$1.21. Adjusted EPS is a supplemental non-GAAP measure of performance. See Adjusted EPS calculations under the heading entitled "Management's Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures."

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