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Post-IPO Carrols triples 4th-Q net, revs up 8.3% to $188.7M

SYRACUSE N.Y. Reporting for the first time as a public company, Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., which operates 328 Burger King restaurants and operates or franchises 76 Pollo Tropical and 143 Taco Cabana restaurants, more than tripled its fourth-quarter net income on strong sales that helped boost revenues 8.3 percent to $188.7 million.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Carrols earned $3.7 million, or 22 cents per share, versus a year-earlier profit of $874,000, or 5 cents per share. After adjusting for the company's initial public offering in December, which increased share count and contributed about $68 million to company coffers, Carrols would have earned 17 cents per share in its latest quarter, up from 4 cents per share a year earlier, the company reported.

Fourth-quarter same-store sales jumped 7.9 percent at Burger King units and 4.9 percent at Pollo Tropical restaurants, but dipped 0.6 percent at the Taco Cabana chain. Carrols said Burger King's sales were driven by a 4.4-percent menu price increase and "successful promotions."

Carrols booked a profit of $13.4 million, or 83 cents per share for fiscal 2006, versus a net loss of $4.4 million, or 29 cents per share, in fiscal 2005. Adjusting for the company's IPO, full-year, per-share earnings would have totaled 62 cents in the latest year, up from a net loss of 21 cents in fiscal 2005. Revenues for fiscal 2005 totaled $751.4 million, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier.

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