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Denny’s Corporation Reports Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Feb. 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Denny’s Corporation (NASDAQ:DENN), franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, today reported results for its fourth quarter and full year ended December 28, 2016.

Full Year 2016 Highlights

  • Domestic system-wide same-store sales increased 0.9%, including an increase of 1.1% at company restaurants and an increase of 0.8% at domestic franchised restaurants.
  • Opened 50 system restaurants including 14 international franchised locations.
  • Completed 240 remodels including 27 at company restaurants.
  • Company restaurant operating margin grew 11.1% to $65.2 million while franchise operating margin grew 4.2% to $98.8 million.
  • Net Income was $19.4 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, including a pre-tax settlement loss of $24.3 million resulting from the Company's pension plan liquidation.
  • Adjusted Net Income* grew 15.2% to $42.3 million while Adjusted Net Income per Share* grew 26.5% to $0.55.
  • Adjusted EBITDA* improved by 12.0% to $99.4 million.
  • Generated $51.1 million of Free Cash Flow*, after cash capital expenditures of $34.0 million.
  • Allocated $58.7 million towards share repurchases.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

  • Domestic system-wide same-store sales increased 0.5%, including an increase of 0.1% at company restaurants and an increase of 0.6% at domestic franchised restaurants.
  • Opened 12 system restaurants including four international franchised locations.
  • Completed 51 remodels including 10 at company restaurants.
  • Company restaurant operating margin expanded 22.3% to $16.6 million while franchise operating margin grew 3.7% to $25.2 million.
  • Net Income increased 28.7% to $11.3 million, or $0.15 per diluted share.
  • Adjusted Net Income* grew 41.3% to $12.6 million while Adjusted Net Income per Share* grew 52.9% to $0.17.
  • Adjusted EBITDA* improved by 17.8% to $25.8 million.
  • Generated $14.4 million of Free Cash Flow*, after cash capital expenditures of $6.5 million.
  • Allocated $39.0 million towards share repurchases.

"We are pleased with our performance during the fourth quarter and full year, particularly in light of the pervasive challenges within the restaurant industry," commented John Miller, Denny's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Throughout the year, we continued to successfully execute our brand revitalization strategy and delivered an improved and differentiated experience for our guests across food, service, and atmosphere. These efforts resulted in market share gains and impressive growth in company and franchise margins. In addition, we delivered our best year of unit expansion in the past five years. Moving forward, despite an uncertain industry outlook, Denny's remains committed to further elevating the guest experience, consistently growing same-store sales, and expanding the brand across the globe, leading to value creation for all franchisees and shareholders."

Fourth Quarter Results

Denny’s domestic system-wide same-store sales increased 0.5%, including a 0.1% increase at company restaurants and a 0.6% increase at domestic franchised restaurants. During the quarter, the Company acquired one franchised restaurant. Denny’s franchisees opened 12 restaurants and closed seven restaurants, bringing the total number of restaurants to 1,733.

Denny’s total operating revenue grew 4.5% to $129.6 million due to an increase in both company restaurant sales and franchise royalties. Company restaurant sales improved 6.1% to $94.6 million due to a greater number of company restaurants compared to the prior year quarter and same-store sales growth. Franchise and licensing revenue grew 0.5% to $35.0 million primarily due to higher royalty revenue, partially offset by a decrease in occupancy revenue.

Company restaurant operating margin of $16.6 million, or 17.5% of company restaurant sales, increased $3.0 million, or 230 basis points. Franchise operating margin of $25.2 million, or 72.1% of franchise and licensing revenue, increased $0.9 million, or 220 basis points.

Total general and administrative expenses were $17.3 million compared to $16.8 million in the prior year quarter as lower incentive compensation was offset by higher stock-based compensation. Interest expense of $3.3 million increased $0.7 million due to higher borrowings compared to the prior year quarter. Denny’s ended the quarter with $245.6 million of total debt outstanding, including $218.5 million of borrowings under its revolving credit facility. Depreciation and amortization expense of $6.0 million increased $0.3 million.

The provision for income taxes was $1.9 million, reflecting an effective tax rate of 14.4%. During the quarter, amended federal tax returns for prior years were filed in order to claim foreign tax credits in lieu of foreign tax deductions. These returns generated $1.7 million in additional tax credits and $0.9 million in federal income tax refunds. The Company paid $1.9 million in cash taxes during the quarter.

Denny's Net Income of $11.3 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, grew 28.7%. Adjusted Net Income per Share* of $0.17 grew 52.9% compared to the prior year quarter and included $0.04 per share resulting from the amended tax return filings.

Free Cash Flow* and Capital Allocation

Denny’s generated $14.4 million of Free Cash Flow* in the quarter after investing $6.5 million in cash capital expenditures, including the acquisition of one franchised restaurant and the remodeling of 10 company restaurants.

During the quarter, the Company allocated $39.0 million to share repurchases, including a $25.0 million accelerated share repurchase agreement entered into in November 2016 and completed in February 2017. As part of this agreement, approximately 1.5 million shares were repurchased during the fourth quarter and approximately 0.5 million shares were repurchased following the close of the fourth quarter. As of December 28, 2016, the Company had approximately $79 million remaining in authorized share repurchases, including the impact of the accelerated share repurchase agreement.

Business Outlook

The following full year 2017 estimates are based on management’s expectations at this time.

  • Same-store sales growth at company and domestic franchised restaurants between 0% and 2%.
  • 45 to 50 new restaurant openings, with net restaurant growth of 10 to 20 restaurants.
  • Total operating revenue between $523 and $532 million including franchise and licensing revenue between $140 and $142 million.
  • Company restaurant margin between 17.5% and 18% and franchise restaurant margin between 71% and 71.5%.
  • Total general and administrative expenses between $68 and $71 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA* between $101 and $103 million.
  • Depreciation and amortization expense between $23 and $24 million.
  • Net interest expense between $12.5 and $13 million.
  • Effective income tax rate between 35% and 37% with cash taxes between $7 and $9 million.
  • Cash capital expenditures between $22 and $24 million including the relocation of three high-performing company restaurants due to impending loss of property control.
  • Free Cash Flow* between $58 and $60 million.

* Adjusted Net Income excludes debt refinancing charges, impairment charges, gains on sales of assets, and other adjustments including the pension settlement loss. The forward looking non-GAAP estimates set forth above are provided only on a non-GAAP basis. The Company is not able to reconcile these forward-looking non-GAAP estimates to their most directly comparable GAAP estimates without unreasonable efforts because it is unable to predict or forecast the items impacting these estimates with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The Company is unable to determine the probable significance of the unavailable information. Please refer to the historical reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted Income Before Taxes, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Net Income per Share, Adjusted EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow included in the following tables.

Conference Call and Webcast Information

Denny’s will provide further commentary on the results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 28, 2016 on its quarterly investor conference call today, Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested parties are invited to listen to a live broadcast of the conference call accessible through the investor relations section of Denny’s website at investor.dennys.com. A replay of the call may be accessed at the same location later in the day and will remain available for 30 days.

About Denny’s

Denny's Corporation is the franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, based on the number of restaurants. As of December 28, 2016, Denny’s had 1,733 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world with combined sales of $2.8 billion including 123 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, New Zealand, Honduras, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Guam, the Philippines, Curaçao, El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago. For further information on Denny's, including news releases, links to SEC filings, and other financial information, please visit the Denny's investor relations website at investor.dennys.com.

The Company urges caution in considering its current trends and any outlook on earnings disclosed in this press release. In addition, certain matters discussed in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements, which reflect its best judgment based on factors currently known, are intended to speak only as of the date such statements are made and involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause the actual performance of Denny’s Corporation, its subsidiaries, and underlying restaurants to be materially different from the performance indicated or implied by such statements. Words such as “expect”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “intend”, “plan”, “hope”, and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Except as may be required by law, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Factors that could cause actual performance to differ materially from the performance indicated by these forward-looking statements include, among others: competitive pressures from within the restaurant industry; the level of success of our operating initiatives and advertising and promotional efforts; adverse publicity; health concerns arising from food-related pandemics, outbreaks of flu viruses, such as avian flu, or other diseases; changes in business strategy or development plans; terms and availability of capital; regional weather conditions; overall changes in the general economy (including with regard to energy costs), particularly at the retail level; political environment (including acts of war and terrorism); and other factors from time to time set forth in the Company’s SEC reports and other filings, including but not limited to the discussion in Management’s Discussion and Analysis and the risks identified in Item 1A. Risk Factors contained in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 30, 2015 (and in the Company’s subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q).


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
(Unaudited)
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents$2,592 $1,671
Receivables19,841 16,552
Assets held for sale1,020 931
Other current assets12,454 17,260
Total current assets35,907 36,414
Property, net133,102 124,816
Goodwill35,233 33,454
Intangible assets, net54,493 46,074
Deferred income taxes17,683 29,159
Other noncurrent assets29,733 27,120
Total assets$306,151 $297,037
Liabilities
Current liabilities
Current maturities of capital lease obligations$3,285 $3,246
Accounts payable25,289 20,759
Other current liabilities64,796 77,548
Total current liabilities93,370 101,553
Long-term liabilities
Long-term debt, less current maturities218,500 195,000
Capital lease obligations, less current maturities23,806 17,499
Other41,587 43,580
Total long-term liabilities283,893 256,079
Total liabilities377,263 357,632
Shareholders' deficit
Common stock1,071 1,065
Paid-in capital577,951 565,364
Deficit(382,843) (402,245)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss, net of tax(1,407) (23,777)
Treasury stock(265,884) (201,002)
Total shareholders' deficit(71,112) (60,595)
Total liabilities and shareholders' deficit$306,151 $297,037
Debt Balances
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15
Credit facility revolver due 2020$218,500 $195,000
Capital leases27,091 20,745
Total debt$245,591 $215,745


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
(Unaudited)
Quarter Ended
(In thousands, except per share amounts)12/28/16 12/30/15
Revenue:
Company restaurant sales$94,592 $89,183
Franchise and license revenue35,013 34,842
Total operating revenue129,605 124,025
Costs of company restaurant sales78,030 75,639
Costs of franchise and license revenue9,768 10,502
General and administrative expenses17,269 16,831
Depreciation and amortization5,971 5,712
Operating (gains), losses and other charges, net2,545 644
Total operating costs and expenses, net113,583 109,328
Operating income16,022 14,697
Interest expense, net3,327 2,605
Other nonoperating income, net(474) (399)
Net income before income taxes13,169 12,491
Provision for income taxes1,895 3,732
Net income$11,274 $8,759
Basic net income per share$0.16 $0.11
Diluted net income per share$0.15 $0.11
Basic weighted average shares outstanding72,657 78,650
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding74,650 80,783
Comprehensive income$19,675 $10,828
General and Administrative ExpensesQuarter Ended
(In thousands)12/28/2016 12/30/2015
Share-based compensation$1,985 $1,130
Other general and administrative expenses15,284 15,701
Total general and administrative expenses$17,269 $16,831


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
(Unaudited)
Fiscal Year Ended
(In thousands, except per share amounts)12/28/16 12/30/15
Revenue:
Company restaurant sales$367,310 $353,073
Franchise and license revenue139,638 138,220
Total operating revenue506,948 491,293
Costs of company restaurant sales302,096 294,357
Costs of franchise and license revenue40,805 43,345
General and administrative expenses67,960 66,602
Depreciation and amortization22,178 21,472
Operating (gains), losses and other charges, net26,910 2,366
Total operating costs and expenses, net459,949 428,142
Operating income46,999 63,151
Interest expense, net12,232 9,283
Other nonoperating (income) expense, net(1,109) 139
Net income before income taxes35,876 53,729
Provision for income taxes16,474 17,753
Net income$19,402 $35,976
Basic net income per share$0.26 $0.44
Diluted net income per share$0.25 $0.42
Basic weighted average shares outstanding75,325 82,627
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding77,206 84,729
Comprehensive income$41,772 $36,801
General and Administrative ExpensesFiscal Year Ended
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15
Share-based compensation$7,610 $6,635
Other general and administrative expenses60,350 59,967
Total general and administrative expenses$67,960 $66,602


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Reconciliation of Net (Loss) Income to Non-GAAP Operating Measures
(Unaudited)

The Company believes that, in addition to GAAP measures, certain other non-GAAP financial measures are appropriate indicators to assist in the evaluation of operating performance on a period-to-period basis. The Company uses Adjusted Income Before Taxes, Adjusted EBITDA, Free Cash Flow and Adjusted Net Income internally as performance measures for planning purposes, including the preparation of annual operating budgets, and for compensation purposes, including bonuses for certain employees. Adjusted EBITDA is also used to evaluate the ability to service debt because the excluded charges do not have an impact on prospective debt servicing capability and these adjustments are contemplated in our credit facility for the computation of our debt covenant ratios. Free Cash Flow, defined as Adjusted EBITDA less cash portion of interest expense net of interest income, capital expenditures, and cash taxes, is used to evaluate operating effectiveness and decisions regarding the allocation of resources. However, each of these non-GAAP financial measures should be considered as a supplement to, not a substitute for, operating income, net income or other financial performance measures prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

Quarter Ended Fiscal Year Ended
(In thousands, except per share amounts)12/28/16 12/30/15 12/28/16 12/30/15
Net income$11,274 $8,759 $19,402 $35,976
Provision for income taxes1,895 3,732 16,474 17,753
Operating (gains), losses and other charges, net2,545 644 26,910 2,366
Other nonoperating (income) expense, net(474) (399) (1,109) 139
Share-based compensation1,985 1,130 7,610 6,635
Adjusted Income Before Taxes$17,225 $13,866 $69,287 $62,869
Interest expense, net3,327 2,605 12,232 9,283
Depreciation and amortization5,971 5,712 22,178 21,472
Cash payments for restructuring charges and exit costs(706) (259) (1,810) (1,475)
Cash payments for share-based compensation (2,529) (3,440)
Adjusted EBITDA$25,817 $21,924 $99,358 $88,709
Cash interest expense, net(3,082) (2,348) (11,232) (8,299)
Cash paid for income taxes, net(1,872) (448) (3,012) (5,364)
Cash paid for capital expenditures(6,460) (12,018) (34,031) (32,780)
Free Cash Flow$14,403 $7,110 $51,083 $42,266
Quarter Ended Fiscal Year Ended
(In thousands, except per share amounts)12/28/16 12/30/15 12/28/16 12/30/15
Net income$11,274 $8,759 $19,402 $35,976
Pension settlement loss 24,297
Gains on sales of assets and other, net793 (50) 29 (93)
Impairment charges1,098 264 1,098 935
Loss on debt refinancing 293
Tax effect (1)(584) (71) (2,492) (375)
Adjusted Net Income$12,581 $8,902 $42,334 $36,736
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding74,650 80,783 77,206 84,729
Adjusted Net Income Per Share$0.17 $0.11 $0.55 $0.43
(1) Tax adjustment for the loss on pension termination for the three months and year ended December 28, 2016 are calculated using an effective tax rate of 8.8%. The remaining tax adjustments for the three months and year ended December 28, 2016 are calculated using the Company's year-to-date effective tax rate of 30.9%, which excludes the impact of the pension termination. Tax adjustments for the three months and year ended December 30, 2015 are calculated using the Company's 2015 year-to-date effective tax rate of 33.0%.


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Operating Margins
(Unaudited)
Quarter Ended
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15
Company restaurant operations: (1)
Company restaurant sales$94,592 100.0% $89,183 100.0%
Costs of company restaurant sales:
Product costs23,234 24.6% 23,051 25.8%
Payroll and benefits38,275 40.5% 35,508 39.8%
Occupancy4,836 5.1% 5,471 6.1%
Other operating costs:
Utilities3,194 3.4% 3,041 3.4%
Repairs and maintenance1,513 1.6% 1,521 1.7%
Marketing2,989 3.2% 2,679 3.0%
Other3,989 4.2% 4,368 4.9%
Total costs of company restaurant sales$78,030 82.5% $75,639 84.8%
Company restaurant operating margin (2)$16,562 17.5% $13,544 15.2%
Franchise operations: (3)
Franchise and license revenue:
Royalties$24,722 70.6% $23,896 68.6%
Initial fees636 1.8% 819 2.3%
Occupancy revenue9,655 27.6% 10,127 29.1%
Total franchise and license revenue$35,013 100.0% $34,842 100.0%
Costs of franchise and license revenue:
Occupancy costs$6,689 19.1% $7,172 20.6%
Other direct costs3,079 8.8% 3,330 9.6%
Total costs of franchise and license revenue$9,768 27.9% $10,502 30.1%
Franchise operating margin (2)$25,245 72.1% $24,340 69.9%
Total operating revenue (4)$129,605 100.0% $124,025 100.0%
Total costs of operating revenue (4)87,798 67.7% 86,141 69.5%
Total operating margin (4)(2)$41,807 32.3% $37,884 30.5%
Other operating expenses: (4)(2)
General and administrative expenses$17,269 13.3% $16,831 13.6%
Depreciation and amortization5,971 4.6% 5,712 4.6%
Operating (gains), losses and other charges, net2,545 2.0% 644 0.5%
Total other operating expenses$25,785 19.9% $23,187 18.7%
Operating income (4)$16,022 12.4% $14,697 11.9%
(1)As a percentage of company restaurant sales.
(2


)


Other operating expenses such as general and administrative expenses and depreciation and amortization relate to both company and franchise operations and are not allocated to costs of company restaurant sales and costs of franchise and license revenue. As such, operating margin is considered a non-GAAP financial measure. Operating margins should be considered as a supplement to, not as a substitute for, operating income, net income or other financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
(3)As a percentage of franchise and license revenue.
(4)As a percentage of total operating revenue.


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Operating Margins
(Unaudited)
Fiscal Year Ended
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15
Company restaurant operations: (1)
Company restaurant sales$367,310 100.0% $353,073 100.0%
Costs of company restaurant sales:
Product costs90,487 24.6% 89,660 25.4%
Payroll and benefits142,823 38.9% 136,626 38.7%
Occupancy19,557 5.3% 20,443 5.8%
Other operating costs:
Utilities12,426 3.4% 12,866 3.6%
Repairs and maintenance6,406 1.7% 6,017 1.7%
Marketing13,112 3.6% 12,527 3.5%
Other17,285 4.7% 16,218 4.6%
Total costs of company restaurant sales$302,096 82.2% $294,357 83.4%
Company restaurant operating margin (2)$65,214 17.8% $58,716 16.6%
Franchise operations: (3)
Franchise and license revenue:
Royalties$98,416 70.5% $94,755 68.6%
Initial fees2,717 1.9% 2,478 1.8%
Occupancy revenue38,505 27.6% 40,987 29.7%
Total franchise and license revenue$139,638 100.0% $138,220 100.0%
Costs of franchise and license revenue:
Occupancy costs$28,062 20.1% $30,416 22.0%
Other direct costs12,743 9.1% 12,929 9.4%
Total costs of franchise and license revenue$40,805 29.2% $43,345 31.4%
Franchise operating margin (2)$98,833 70.8% $94,875 68.6%
Total operating revenue (4)$506,948 100.0% $491,293 100.0%
Total costs of operating revenue (4)342,901 67.6% 337,702 68.7%
Total operating margin (4)(2)$164,047 32.4% $153,591 31.3%
Other operating expenses: (4)(2)
General and administrative expenses$67,960 13.4% $66,602 13.6%
Depreciation and amortization22,178 4.4% 21,472 4.4%
Operating gains, losses and other charges, net26,910 5.3% 2,366 0.5%
Total other operating expenses$117,048 23.1% $90,440 18.4%
Operating income (4)$46,999 9.3% $63,151 12.9%
(1)As a percentage of company restaurant sales.
(2


)


Other operating expenses such as general and administrative expenses and depreciation and amortization relate to both company and franchise operations and are not allocated to costs of company restaurant sales and costs of franchise and license revenue. As such, operating margin is considered a non-GAAP financial measure. Operating margins should be considered as a supplement to, not as a substitute for, operating income, net income or other financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
(3)As a percentage of franchise and license revenue.
(4)As a percentage of total operating revenue.


DENNY’S CORPORATION
Statistical Data
(Unaudited)
Same-Store SalesQuarter Ended Fiscal Year Ended
(increase vs. prior year)12/28/16 12/30/15 12/28/16 12/30/15
Company Restaurants0.1% 3.5% 1.1% 6.5%
Domestic Franchised Restaurants0.6% 2.8% 0.8% 5.7%
Domestic System-wide Restaurants0.5% 2.9% 0.9% 5.8%
System-wide Restaurants0.6% 2.0% 0.7% 4.9%
Average Unit SalesQuarter Ended Fiscal Year Ended
(In thousands)12/28/16 12/30/15 12/28/16 12/30/15
Company Restaurants$565 $557 $2,254 $2,217
Franchised Restaurants$389 $388 $1,563 $1,555
Franchised
Restaurant Unit ActivityCompany & Licensed Total
Ending Units September 28, 2016168 1,560 1,728
Units Opened 12 12
Units Reacquired1 (1)
Units Refranchised
Units Closed (7) (7)
Net Change1 4 5
Ending Units December 28, 2016169 1,564 1,733
Equivalent Units
Fourth Quarter 2016167 1,563 1,730
Fourth Quarter 2015160 1,543 1,703
Net Change7 20 27
Franchised
Restaurant Unit ActivityCompany & Licensed Total
Ending Units December 30, 2015164 1,546 1,710
Units Opened1 49 50
Units Reacquired10 (10)
Units Refranchised(6) 6
Units Closed (27) (27)
Net Change5 18 23
Ending Units December 28, 2016169 1,564 1,733
Equivalent Units
Year-to-Date 2016163 1,556 1,719
Year-to-Date 2015159 1,538 1,697
Net Change4 18 22

Investor Contact: Curt Nichols 877-784-7167 Media Contact: Jessica Liddell, ICR 203-682-8208

Source:Denny's Corporation