Yum! Brands

(YUM) - Get Report

posted a jump in third-quarter earnings and boosted its full-year outlook after the bell on Tuesday.

The company, which operates the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell restaurant brands, cited strong international restaurant growth, improved international same-store sales and a solid performance by Taco Bell.

In the quarter ended Sept. 6, the company earned $164 million, or 53 cents a share, after items. This compares to a profit of $147 million, or 47 cents a share, a year ago. Yum! earned 54 cents a share before items, ahead of analysts' estimates of 52 cents a share.

Total revenue in the quarter was $1.989 billion, up from $1.915 billion last year.

"While both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell had positive sales performances, continued weakness at KFC negatively impacted U.S. blended same-store sales results," said Chief Executive David C. Novak. "We have made a major change in the KFC brand's leadership by appointing a new president and a new chief marketing and food innovation officer. We fully expect this team to turn around KFC's business performance."

Looking to the fourth quarter, the company said it is "comfortable" with analysts' current consensus estimate of 62 cents a share. The company earned 55 cents a share in the prior-year period. Yum! also expects U.S. blended same-store sales for company restaurants to increase 1%.

For full-year 2003, the company sees earnings of at least $2.03 a share, before items, compared to analysts' forecast of $2.01 a share. Previously, the company had forecast earnings of $2 a share. After items, Yum! sees a profit of $1.94.

The company expects worldwide revenue growth of 7% to 8% in 2003. In 2004, the company expects to keep in line with its goal of at least 10% earnings growth each year.

Shares of the Kentucky-based company were up 93 cents, or 3%, at $32.50 in after-hours trading.