Asset-light strategy boosts Dunkin’ Brands earnings

by Jeff Gelski
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CANTON, MASS. — Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. reported sales growth of 5% while net income more than tripled in the third quarter behind an “asset-light, nearly 100% franchised model.”

Net income in the third quarter ended Sept. 29 totaled $29,526,000, equal to 26c per share on the common stock, up from $7,412,000 in the previous year’s third quarter. A $16.2 million increase in operating income and a $14.1 million decline in debt refinancing charges, offset by a corresponding increase in tax expense, drove net income growth. The company said adjusted net income was $42,118,000, which compared with adjusted net income of $31,343,000 in the previous year’s third quarter.

Third-quarter revenues of $171,719,000 compared with $163,508,000 in the previous year’s third quarter.

“The third quarter marked our fifth quarter as a public company and our fifth consecutive quarter with double-digit adjusted earnings-per-share growth,” said Nigel Travis, chief executive officer of Canton-based Dunkin’ Brands, when third-quarter results were given Oct. 25. “We continue to leverage our asset-light, nearly 100% franchised model to drive strong shareholder returns.

“With the exceptional growth of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand over the past two years and our intense focus on franchisee profitability, our franchisees are seeing very strong unit economics and in turn are driving our robust restaurant expansion across the U.S.”

For the entire fiscal year, Dunkin’ Brands raised its range for adjusted earnings per share to $1.25 to $1.27, which compared with a previous range of $1.22 to $1.25 and fiscal year 2011 earnings per share of 94c. For fiscal year 2012, Dunkin’ Brands expects revenue growth of 6% to 7% compared to previous expectations of 7% to 8%. The decline came as a result of a change in ice cream shipping terms related to the manufacturing shift to Dallas-based Dean Foods, which was announced in July.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2012, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. posted total revenues of $123,622,000, which marked a 6% increase from $116,866,000 in the previous year’s third quarter, and segment profit of $91,122,000, up 2% from $88,992,000. Increased average ticket and higher traffic, which came despite a challenging consumer and competitive environment, drove Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. comparable store sales growth of 3%.

Dunkin’ Donuts International in the third quarter had total revenues of $3,671,000, practically unchanged from $3,669,000 in the previous year’s third quarter, and segment profit of $2,402,000, down from $2,496,000.

Baskin-Robbins U.S. in the third quarter had total revenues of $11,667,000, down 6% from $12,423,000, and segment profit of $8,069,000, up 13% from $7,140,000. Driving Baskin-Robbins U.S. comparable store sales growth of 1% were new Flavors of the Month, new signature cake merchandising and new beverage messaging around Flavors of the Month being available as milk shakes.

Baskin-Robbins International in the third quarter had total revenues of $29,657,000, up 7% from $27,670,000, and segment profit of $16,047,000, up 12% from $14,276,000.

System-wide, Dunkin’ Brands franchisees and licensees globally opened 187 net new restaurants, including 78 net new Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. locations, 74 net new Baskin-Robbins International locations, 36 net new Dunkin’ Donuts international locations and one net closure for Baskin-Robbins U.S.

For the nine months ended Sept. 29, Dunkin’ Brands recorded net income of $73,973,000, or 63c per share, which compared with $22,851,000 in the same time period of the previous year. Nine-month total revenues of $496,478,000 compared with $459,693,000 in the same time period of the previous year.

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