Los Angeles Business Journal

DineEquity Quarter Better Than Expected

By Business Journal Staff Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DineEquity Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday in line with analysts’ estimates, but announced the departure of an executive at its Applebee’s chain, which saw same-store sales fall.

The Glendale operator of the Applebee’s and IHOP restaurant chains reported net income of $18.6 million (98 cents a share) for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to $15.5 million (83 cents) the year earlier. Revenue dipped less than 1 percent to $159 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of 97 cents on revenue of $158 million, according to Thomson Financial.

Same-store sales at IHOP restaurants increased 4.5 percent, which the company attributed to higher average guest checks and changes in the menu. Applebee’s sales decreased 0.7 percent.

The company announced Steven Layt has been appointed president of Applebee’s. It said former president, Michael Archer, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Layt has served as senior vice president of operations for Applebee’s since January of 2012.

The company also declared a first quarter cash dividend of 75 cents a share, payable on March 28 to stockholders of record as of March 14.

“For DineEquity, 2013 marked the first full year as a 99 percent franchised company and a year of significant progress,” said Chief Executive Julia Stewart in a statement. “We are extremely proud of the results that the IHOP team and franchisees have achieved and hope to build on this success going forward. Applebees continued to outperform its category, but we know that we can do better.”

The company expects to open another 40 to 50 new restaurants for each of its chains this year, the majority of which are expected to be opened domestically.

For the year, the company reported net income of $81.2 million ($4.24), compared to $122.5 million ($6.63) in 2012. Revenue fell nearly 33 percent to $640 million as the company fully moved to a franchise model from company-owned stores.

Analysts had expected earnings of $4.22 cents on revenue of $642 million, according to Thomson Financial.

Shares closed up $2.12, or 2.6 percent, to $83.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.