Sonic Corp. posts record earnings

Tuesday, June 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Sonic Corp. posted record earnings in its third quarter with 30 percent growth and a projection of 20 percent for the year.

The No. 1 drive-in restaurant brand, headquartered in Oklahoma City, recorded net income of $14.9 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ending May 31.

That compares to $11.5 million, or 27 cents per share, for the same period a year earlier.

The earnings were one cent ahead of analysts' consensus estimate. All share and per-share amounts reflect Sonic's three-for-two stock split in February.

``Again in the third quarter, Sonic's commitment to media support and new product news helped push same-store sales growth,'' said Chief Executive Cliff Hudson. ``This was especially gratifying considering the strong sales gains we made in the year-earlier quarter.''

The company's second quarter saw a 29-percent rise in earnings and the best same-store sales growth in nearly three years. The company posted second-quarter profits of $7.1 million, or 17 cents a share for the quarter ending Feb. 28.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2002, the company has seen net income rise 24 percent to $31.6 million, or 75 cents per share.

``As we look ahead to the final months of fiscal 2002, we believe Sonic remains well-positioned to deliver revenue growth of at least 20 percent for the year,'' Hudson said.

Lynne Collier, an analyst with Stephens Inc. in Dallas, said Sonic's new breakfast menu has boosted the company's success.

``Breakfast certainly adds a significant amount to sales, even though the company hasn't released those figures,'' Collier said. ``And as they continue to roll that out to their other restaurants, over the next two years I don't see a lot of potential negatives.''