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Mexican Restaurants may go private

Mexican Restaurants Inc., the publicly traded parent company to 72 restaurants under several brands, said it is looking into becoming a private company.

The Houston-based company said Thursday it had formed a special committee to explore “alternatives available to reduce the cost burdens of being a publicly traded company, including whether to discontinue its listing on Nasdaq.” The company set no timetable for the committee to make a decision.

Mexican Restaurants has struggled to rebuild sales and profit this year. For the first quarter ended April 4, the company reported a wider net loss of $399,147, or 12 cents per share, compared to net income of $179,853, or 5 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue in the quarter declined 11.4 percent to $17 million, which reflected an 11.7-percent drop in same-store sales at corporate restaurants.

Shares in Mexican Restaurants were up slightly at $2.29 in Friday afternoon trading after falling 6.6 percent Thursday following the company's announcement that it would explore going private. The company's stock price has ranged from $2.00 to $3.60 over the past 52 weeks.

Mexican Restaurants operates and franchises 72 Mexican restaurants under the brands Casa Ole, Crazy Jose’s, Mission Burrito, Monterey’s Little Mexico and Tortuga Mexican Kitchen. The company operates 55 units, franchises 16 locations and licenses one restaurant.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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