Darden Restaurants

(DRI) - Get Report

Tuesday outlined restructuring charges while maintaining its forecast for earnings growth in 2004.

The Orlando, Fla.-based restaurant chain said it will take a $23 million after-tax charge for the closure and asset writedown of about a dozen restaurants.

The company said the measures will reduce fourth-quarter earnings by about 14 cents a share.

Darden said earnings growth, including the charge, would be 2% to 5% for fiscal 2004. Excluding the charge, full-year earnings will grow 12% to 15%.

Darden has closed six underperforming Bahama Breeze restaurants. It is also writing down the value of four other Bahama Breeze restaurants, one Olive Garden and one Red Lobster restaurant, which will remain open.

The company owns more than 1,300 restaurants in the country with annual sales of $4.7 billion, but has recently reported mixed same-store sales for April.

Shares closed at $21.95 Monday.