(Adds executive comment, background on rivals' performance)
LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Dunkin' Brands Group Inc reported quarterly profit on Tuesday that exceeded analyst estimates as revenue came in stronger than expected amid a bitter fast-food price war.
The Canton, Massachusetts-based owner of Dunkin' Donuts, like fast-food giant McDonald's Corp, is using low-priced "value" deals to lure consumers in a breakfast market crowded with competitors ranging from Starbucks Corp to convenience stores.
The company, which also owns the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop brand, said fourth-quarter net income more than tripled to $195.5 million, or $2.13 per share. Excluding the benefit from a new U.S. tax law, it earned 64 cents a share in the quarter.
Dunkin' Brands expects its 2018 effective tax rate to be about 28 percent, against 38.5 percent in 2017, Chief Executive Nigel Travis said on a conference call with analysts.
Total sales climbed 5.3 percent to $227.1 million in the quarter, after all four Dunkin' Brands business segments reported same-store sales gains for the first time in nearly three years.
Analysts, on average, had expected quarterly earnings of 63 cents a share on revenue of $220.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Same-store sales at U.S. Dunkin' Donuts restaurants, which account for roughly 70 percent of overall revenue, rose 0.8 percent, matching analysts' estimate.
McDonald's last week reported a 4.5 percent rise in U.S. sales at established restaurants and has ramped up pressure on rivals with the launch of its $1, $2, $3 value menu, which includes breakfast items, in early January.
Dunkin' Donuts had a 2 for $5 breakfast sandwich promotion in the fourth quarter and a $2 food and drink promotion in January.
The chain, like Starbucks Corp, has struggled to lure more customers in the afternoon, a phenomenon that some analysts attribute to McDonald's more aggressive pricing.
Shares in Dunkin' Brands were down 1.3 percent at $60.05 amid volatile trading in the broader U.S. stock market.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernadette Baum)