Wendy's International

(WEN) - Get Report

posted a first-quarter profit of $43.9 million and reiterated its goal of 7% to 10% earnings-per-share growth in 2003.

Wendy's earned 38 cents a share in the quarter ended March 30, matching analysts' expectations, compared with earnings of 39 cents a share, or $43.4 million, in the prior-year quarter. Revenue was $694 million, up 13.3%.

TheStreet Recommends

"This was a challenging quarter from an earnings perspective, but we anticipated that the first half of the year would be difficult due to macroeconomic conditions and discounting by our competitors. Our entire team focused on effective cost control at the enterprise and restaurant level," said Chief Financial Officer Kerrii Anderson.

Looking ahead, the company expects 2003 earnings of $2.02 to $2.08 a share, up 7% to 10% from $1.89 a share in 2002. Analysts expect $2.03 a share. The company's long-term EPS growth goal continues to be 12% to 15%.

The company operates Wendy's hamburger restaurants, Tim Horton's doughnut shops and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill fast-food restaurants, acquired in June 2002.

Its shares were down 1.7% at $27.94 in morning trading.