Darden Restaurants (DRI) Stock Gains on Earnings Beat

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Darden Restaurants (DRI) shares are up 4.9% to $72.78 in pre-market trading on Tuesday following the release of the restaurant chain's fourth quarter earnings results before the opening bell today.

The Olive Garden parent company reported fourth quarter net income of $105.3 million, or $1.08 cents per diluted share on an adjusted basis.

Revenue for the period was $1.88 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 93 cents per share on an adjusted basis on revenue of $1.87 billion.

Separately, the company announced that it plans to separate some of its real estate holdings into a real estate investment trust in order to pay down about $1 billion of its debt obligations.

The company said that it would transfer 430 restaurants into the trust this year and lease back most of the properties.

Jim Cramer, portfolio manager for the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust, is a believer in the company.

"Kicking myself for not owning this in the trust. I knew from the darned game plan that that they could do something big. Plus Olive Garden is looking great," said Cramer.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC (DRI) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

DRI Chart DRI data by YCharts

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