Sonic Achieves Strong First Quarter Results

Same-Store Sales Increase 8.5%

OKLAHOMA CITY - January 6, 2015 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today announced results for the first fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2014.

Key highlights of the company's first quarter of fiscal year 2015 included:

  • Net income per diluted share was $0.18 compared with net income per diluted share of $0.14 in the prior-year period; excluding items outlined below, net income per diluted share was $0.13 in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, resulting in a 38% increase on an adjusted basis;
  • System same-store sales increased 8.5%, consisting of an 8.5% same-store sales increase at franchise drive-ins and an increase of 7.9% at company drive-ins;
  • Company drive-in margins improved by 70 basis points versus the first quarter of fiscal year 2014;
  • 13 new drive-ins opened; and
  • The company repurchased approximately $20 million of stock and paid its first-ever quarterly dividend of $0.09 per share.

"We are extremely pleased with our performance in the first quarter and believe that our focus on innovative products, increased media effectiveness and a layered day-part promotional strategy were instrumental to our continued success," said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp. CEO. "Our business momentum remains strong as improvements in core menu items combined with limited-time-offer promotions are driving our same-store sales growth. Further, we expect our technology initiatives will provide an additional layer of growth to build sales and profits over the next several years.

"Our focus continues to be on our multi-layered growth strategy, which is comprised of initiatives to drive same-store sales growth, improve margins, increase royalty revenues, new drive-in development and deployment of free cash flow1. This strategy is expected to continue to drive strong double-digit earnings per share growth for the next several years," concluded Hudson.

Same-Store Sales

For the first fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2014, system same-store sales increased 8.5%, which was comprised of an 8.5% same-store sales increase at franchise drive-ins and an increase of 7.9% at company drive-ins.

Financial Overview

For the first fiscal quarter of 2015, the company's net income increased to $10.1 million or $0.18 per diluted share compared with net income of $8.2 million or $0.14 per diluted share in the same period in the prior year. Excluding a tax benefit in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, outlined below, earnings per share increased 38%.

The following non-GAAP adjustment is intended to supplement the presentation of the company's financial results in accordance with GAAP. The company believes that the presentation of this item provides useful information to investors and management regarding the underlying business trends and the performance of the company's ongoing operations and is helpful for period-to-period and company-to-company comparisons, which management believes will assist investors in analyzing the financial results of the company and predicting future performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

Three months ended

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 30, 2014

 

November 30, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net

   

Diluted

   

Net

 

Diluted

   

Net Income

   

Diluted EPS

 

Income

 

EPS

 

Income

 

EPS

 

$ Change

 

% Change

 

$ Change

 

% Change

Reported - GAAP

$

10,085

 

$

0.18

 

$

8,208

 

 

$

0.14

 

 

$

1,877

 

23

%

 

$

0.04

 

29

%

Tax benefit from the IRS' acceptance of a federal tax method change

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

(484

)

 

 

(0.01

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted - Non-GAAP

$

10,085

 

$

0.18

 

$

7,724

 

 

$

0.13

 

 

$

2,361

 

31

%

 

$

0.05

 

38

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year 2015 Outlook

While the macroeconomic environment may impact results, the company expects its initiatives to drive earnings per share growth in fiscal 2015 at the high end or slightly above its long-term 14% to 20% earnings per share growth target, versus adjusted EPS in fiscal 2014. The outlook for fiscal 2015 anticipates the following elements:

  • Positive same-store sales in the low single digit range for the system;
  • Company drive-in same-store sales growth expected to outperform franchisees for the fiscal year as a result of the recent implementation of new digital menu boards and point-of-sale systems, with this outperformance weighted toward the latter portion of the fiscal year;
  • In addition to royalty revenue growth from same-store sales improvements and new unit development, incremental royalty revenue of approximately $8 million as a result of approximately 900 stores converting to a higher royalty rate structure at the beginning of fiscal 2015;
  • 50 to 60 new franchise drive-in openings, resulting in net unit growth for the system;
  • Drive-in-level margin improvement of between 50 to 100 basis points, depending upon the degree of same-store sales growth at company drive-ins and commodity cost inflation;
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses of $75 million to $76 million, reflecting increased investment in human resources to support the brand initiatives described above;
  • Depreciation and amortization expense of $45.5 million to $46.5 million as a result of increased capital investment in fiscal 2014;
  • Net interest expense of $25 million to $25.5 million;
  • An income tax rate of between 37.5% to 38.5%, excluding the retroactive reinstatement in December 2014 of certain tax credit programs for calendar year 2014;
  • Capital expenditures of $30 million to $40 million;
  • Free cash flow of $65 million to $75 million;
  • The planned repurchase of $105 million of stock across the fiscal year; and
  • A quarterly cash dividend of $0.09 per share resulting in an estimated payout of $19 million during the fiscal year.

Earnings Conference Call

The company will host a conference call and online web simulcast this afternoon beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. The conference call can be accessed live by dialing (877) 591-4959 or (719) 325-4849 for international callers. A replay will be available one hour after the call and can be accessed by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517 for international callers; the conference ID is 3996383. The replay will be available until Tuesday, January 13, 2015. An online replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the live broadcast. A link to this event may be found on the company's investor relations website at http://ir.sonicdrivein.com/.

About Sonic

SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, is the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Over the past 61 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1 million drink combinations, friendly service by iconic Carhops and ongoing support of education through its award-winning Limeades for Learning® program. SONIC received top honors as America's "#1 burger quick service restaurant," ranking in the top 5 of all brands in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings report. For more information about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM:SONC) and its subsidiaries, please visit sonicdrivein.com. Customers can also connect with SONIC at facebook.com/sonicdrivein or on Twitter @sonicdrive_in.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements reflect management's expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or underlying, these forward-looking statements are detailed in the company's annual and quarterly report filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The tables that follow provide information regarding the number of company drive-ins, franchise drive-ins and system drive-ins in operation as of the end of the periods indicated. In addition, these tables provide information regarding franchise sales, system growth in sales, and both franchise and system average drive-in sales and change in same-store sales. System information includes both company and franchise drive-in information, which we believe is useful in analyzing the growth of our brand. While we do not record franchise drive-in sales as revenues, we believe this information is important in understanding our financial performance since we calculate and record franchise royalties based on a percentage of franchise sales. This information also is indicative of the financial health of our franchisees.

1 Free cash flow is defined as net income plus depreciation, amortization and stock compensation expenses, less capital expenditures.

SONC-F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SONIC CORP.

UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

 

 

November 30,

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

Revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company Drive-In sales

 

 

$

100,138

 

 

$

93,499

 

Franchise Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franchise royalties and fees

 

 

 

38,264

 

 

 

31,221

 

Lease revenue

 

 

 

1,065

 

 

 

886

 

Other

 

 

 

389

 

 

 

1,046

 

Total revenues

 

 

 

139,856

 

 

 

126,652

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and packaging

 

 

 

28,573

 

 

 

26,236

 

Payroll and other employee benefits

 

 

 

35,271

 

 

 

33,340

 

Other operating expenses, exclusive of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

depreciation and amortization included below

 

 

 

22,605

 

 

 

21,807

 

Total cost of Company Drive-In sales

 

 

 

86,449

 

 

 

81,383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, general and administrative

 

 

 

18,788

 

 

 

17,005

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

 

11,660

 

 

 

10,034

 

Provision for impairment of long-lived assets

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

-

 

Other operating (income) expense, net

 

 

 

399

 

 

 

(129

)

Total costs and expenses

 

 

 

117,318

 

 

 

108,293

 

Income from operations

 

 

 

22,538

 

 

 

18,359

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

 

 

 

6,281

 

 

 

6,383

 

Interest income

 

 

 

(102

)

 

 

(117

)

Net interest expense

 

 

 

6,179

 

 

 

6,266

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

 

16,359

 

 

 

12,093

 

Provision for income taxes

 

 

 

6,274

 

 

 

3,885

 

Net income

 

 

$

10,085

 

 

$

8,208

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic income per share

 

 

$

0.19

 

 

$

0.15

 

Diluted income per share

 

 

$

0.18

 

 

$

0.14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average basic shares

 

 

 

53,360

 

 

 

56,292

 

Weighted average diluted shares

 

 

 

54,827

 

 

 

57,897

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SONIC CORP.

Unaudited Supplemental Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

 

 

November 30,

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

Drive-Ins in Operation

 

 

 

 

 

Company:

 

 

 

 

 

Total at beginning of period

 

 

391

 

 

396

 

Opened

 

 

1

 

 

-

 

Acquired from (sold to) franchisees

 

 

(2

)

 

(7

)

Closed (net of re-openings)

 

 

(1

)

 

(1

)

Total at end of period

 

 

389

 

 

388

 

Franchise:

 

 

 

 

 

Total at beginning of period

 

 

3,127

 

 

3,126

 

Opened

 

 

12

 

 

7

 

Acquired from (sold to) the company

 

 

2

 

 

7

 

Closed (net of re-openings)

 

 

(13

)

 

(11

)

Total at end of period

 

 

3,128

 

 

3,129

 

System-wide:

 

 

 

 

 

Total at beginning of period

 

 

3,518

 

 

3,522

 

Opened

 

 

13

 

 

7

 

Closed (net of re-openings)

 

 

(14

)

 

(12

)

Total at end of period

 

 

3,517

 

 

3,517

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

 

 

November 30,

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

 

 

($ in thousands)

Sales Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total sales

 

 

$

100,138

 

 

$

93,499

 

Average drive-in sales

 

 

 

259

 

 

 

239

 

Change in same-store sales

 

 

 

7.9

%

 

 

1.9

%

Franchised Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total sales

 

 

$

908,276

 

 

$

829,995

 

Average drive-in sales

 

 

 

294

 

 

 

270

 

Change in same-store sales

 

 

 

8.5

%

 

 

2.3

%

System-wide:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change in total sales

 

 

 

9.2

%

 

 

2.4

%

Average drive-in sales

 

 

$

290

 

 

$

266

 

Change in same-store sales

 

 

 

8.5

%

 

 

2.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Change in same-store sales based on restaurants open for a minimum of 15 months.

 

 

SONIC CORP.

 

Unaudited Supplemental Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

 

November 30,

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

 

(In thousands)

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company Drive-In sales

 

$

100,138

 

 

$

93,499

 

Franchise Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franchise royalties

 

 

36,776

 

 

 

30,912

 

Franchise fees

 

 

1,488

 

 

 

309

 

Lease revenue

 

 

1,065

 

 

 

886

 

Other

 

 

389

 

 

 

1,046

 

Total revenues

 

$

139,856

 

 

$

126,652

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months ended

 

 

November 30,

 

 

2014

 

2013

Margin Analysis (percentage of Company Drive-In sales)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company Drive-Ins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and packaging

 

28.5

%

 

28.1

%

Payroll and employee benefits

 

35.2

 

 

35.6

 

Other operating expenses

 

22.6

 

 

23.3

 

Cost of Company Drive-In sales

 

86.3

%

 

87.0

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 30,

 

August 31,

 

 

2014

 

2014

 

 

(In thousands)

 

Selected Balance Sheet Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

45,221

 

 

$

35,694

 

Current assets

 

 

90,344

 

 

 

95,712

 

Property, equipment and capital leases, net

 

 

436,768

 

 

 

441,969

 

Total assets

 

$

641,617

 

 

$

650,972

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities, including capital lease obligations and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

long-term debt due within one year

 

$

75,679

 

 

$

79,511

 

Obligations under capital leases due after one year

 

 

22,430

 

 

 

23,050

 

Long-term debt due after one year

 

 

425,079

 

 

 

427,527

 

Total liabilities

 

 

580,146

 

 

 

588,297

 

Stockholders' equity

 

$

61,471

 

 

$

62,675

  

SOURCE Sonic Corp.

Contact:

Claudia San Pedro
Sonic Corp.
Vice President of Investor Relations,
Communications and Treasurer
405-225-4846

###

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