UPDATE 2-Burger King profit beats estimates, initiates dividend
* Burger King 3rd-quarter sales fall 26 pct
* Overall same-restaurant sales rose 1.4 percent
* October same-restaurant sales momentum improved
Oct 29 (Reuters) - Burger King Worldwide Inc reported a better-than-expected profit on Monday as new items on the fast-food chain's menu and accompanying advertising campaigns helped boost same-restaurant sales in the United States and Canada.
The company, which went public in June, initiated a quarterly cash dividend of 4 cents per share.
The Miami-based chain, known for its ``Whopper'' hamburgers, traditionally focused on young males, but it is getting more business from women and customers age 55 and older after broadening its menu to include things such as wrap sandwiches and fruit smoothies.
The third-largest U.S. hamburger chain, behind McDonald's Corp and Wendy's Co, said net income fell to $6.6 million, or 2 cents per share in the third quarter, from $38.8 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding the impact of restaurant sales to franchisees and foreign exchange, Burger King earned 17 cents per share. Analysts expected a profit of 15 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
System-wide comparable sales, or sales at company-owned and franchise restaurants open at least 13 months, rose 1.4 percent.
Three analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had estimated a 1.56 percent gain in same-restaurant sales.
Quarterly comparable sales in the United States and Canada rose 1.6 percent - slightly better than analysts' expected - driven by Burger King's Summer BBQ and chicken offerings.
Revenue fell about 26 percent to $451.1 million due to refranchising deals and a stronger dollar, Burger King said.
Comparable sales in the Asia-Pacific region fell 2.2 percent as fewer customers visited the chain in Australia and South Korea.
McDonald's earlier reported its worst quarterly restaurant sales growth performance in nine years, citing a weak economy and challenges from resurgent rivals.
Many restaurant chains have cited an increase in competition in the latest quarter after companies like Yum Brand Inc's Taco Bell revamped menus, trotted out celebrity endorsers and put a renewed focus on lower-priced food.
Amid that, Burger King has seen same-restaurant sales momentum improve so far in October, Chief Financial Officer Daniel Schwartz said on a conference call with analysts.
Burger King's return to the stock market came less than two years after it was taken private in a $3.26 billion sale to Brazilian investment fund 3G Capital Management LLC.
It went public through a ``reverse-merger'' in which Justice Holdings, a traded shell company co-founded by hedge fund veteran Bill Ackman, absorbed Burger King.
Shares of Burger King, which debuted at $14.50 on June 20, closed at $14.95 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. Major U.S. stock markets were closed on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy.