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Burger King returns to profit in 4Q

Burger King swung to a profit in the fourth quarter with same-store sales improvements driven by strong international results, the company said Wednesday.

Daniel Schwartz, Miami-based Burger King Holdings Inc.’s chief financial officer, said 2011 was a “pivotal year” for the quick-service chain following the 2010 acquisition by investment firm 3G Capital.

For the Dec. 31-ended fourth quarter, the company posted net income of $29.4 million, compared with a loss of $93.9 million for the same quarter last year. The improvement largely was due to the impact of transaction costs last year after the chain went private.

Fourth quarter revenue declined 0.8 percent to $580 million, from $584.4 million a year ago.

Systemwide same-store sales increased 1.2 percent, driven by results from Latin America; the Caribbean; and Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, the company said.

North American same-store sales fell 2 percent for the quarter, and declined 3.4 percent for the year.

“In just one year following the acquisition, we refocused our business priorities in North America, accelerated our international growth, and established a corporate culture of fiscal responsibility and ownership,” Schwartz said.

“These efforts enabled us to deliver 29 percent year-over-year growth in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $585 million,” he said. “Our positive results were achieved by delivering strong results in our international businesses coupled with corporate cost savings measures.”

For fiscal 2011, systemwide same-store sales declined by 0.5 percent, with negative results from the chain’s North American and Asia Pacific locations that largely were offset by positive results in Latin America and EMEA.

Net income for the year was $107 million, up almost 80 percent from $59.6 million the prior year because of the acquisition transition costs.

Burger King officials said the company is well positioned in 2012 to capitalize on momentum, and will remain focused on strengthening North American locations while continuing aggressive international expansion.

Burger King ended the year with 12,512 restaurants, 11,217 of which were franchise locations.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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