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Diners Dig Into Brinker's Fare

Fourth-quarter adjusted profits rise from a year ago.
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Brinker International

(EAT) - Get Brinker International, Inc. Report

, the owner of restaurant chains Chili's and Macaroni Grill, said fourth-quarter net income fell from a year ago, but adjusted profits excluding items came in higher than in 2004.

The company earned $49.8 million, or 55 cents a share, including charges and gains for the fourth quarter ended June 29. Before items, the company earned 71 cents.

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A year ago, Brinker had earnings of $63.7 million, or 62 cents a share. The year-ago fourth-quarter profit would have been 66 cents excluding charges.

Brinker, based in Dallas, reported revenue for the quarter of $1.04 billion, an increase of 2.3% compared with $1.02 billion last year.

The company's initial estimate for first-quarter earnings is 45 cents to 47 cents a share, excluding equity-based compensation expenses and items. Brinker forecast same-store sales growth of 3% to 4%.

For the upcoming fiscal year, Brinker is looking for a profit of $2.40 to $2.46, before compensation costs and items, assuming comp sales of 3% to 4%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had predicted a fourth-quarter profit of 70 cents a share. The consensus earnings estimates are 44 cents for the first quarter and $2.42 for the year.