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Sonic 2Q net rises on positive sales, debt payments

Sonic Corp., owner and franchisor of more than 3,500 drive-in restaurants, reported Tuesday a swing to profitability in its second quarter, driven by positive same-store sales and a one-time gain from the early payment of debt.

For the quarter ended Feb. 28, Sonic reported net income of $4.3 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a loss of $642,000, or 1 cent per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. During the second quarter, Sonic repurchased $62.5 million of the company’s senior notes and booked a $3.3 million after-tax gain from the early extinguishment of its debt. Excluding this gain, second quarter earnings totaled $1.0 million, or 2 cents per share, the company reported.

Latest-quarter revenue was essentially flat, totaling $113.5 million, from $113.3 million in the same quarter a year ago.

As previously reported, Sonic, which is based in Oklahoma City, Okla., said systemwide same-store sales rose 1.2 percent in the second quarter, compared with 13.2-percent decline in the same quarter of 2010. Sonic’s franchised drive-ins saw same-store sales increase 1 percent, compared with a year-ago decline of 12.9 percent. Same-store sales at corporate units increased 2.2 percent versus a decline of 14.9 percent in the same period of 2010.

Clifford Hudson, Sonic’s chairman and chief executive, said: “This rebound in same-store sales underscores the ongoing positive impact of our strategic initiatives and a modestly strengthening economy.”

Sonic, which opened five new restaurants in the second quarter, said it planned to open 40 new drive-ins in this fiscal year, most of them franchised.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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