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Outback Steakhouse Has Strong Quarter

The company says results were aided by lower food costs but hurt by a rise in natural gas prices.

Outback Steakhouse

(OSI)

posted a rise in first-quarter earnings but said higher natural gas prices took a toll on operating expenses.

The company earned $45.1 million, or 58 cents a share, compared with $37 million, or 46 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Before a change in accounting principles, the company earned $41.4 million, or 52 cents a share, in the previous-year quarter. Analysts were expecting 59 cents a share for the current quarter.

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Outback said results were aided by lower food costs but hurt by a rise in natural gas prices, which increased first-quarter restaurant operating expenses by about $1.1 million.

Revenue rose 12.6% to $651.7 million.

The company's shares were down 2.7% at $35.90 in late trading Tuesday.