Jack in the Box Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter FY 2018 Earnings; Issues Guidance for FY 2019; Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend; Increases Share Repurchase Authorization
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 19, 2018--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2018.
The company completed the sale of Qdoba Restaurant Corporation (“Qdoba”) on March 21, 2018. Qdoba results are included in discontinued operations for all periods presented.
Earnings from continuing operations were $18.3 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared with $31.3 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Fiscal 2018 earnings from continuing operations totaled $104.3 million, or $3.62 per diluted share, compared with $128.6 million, or $4.16 per diluted share in fiscal 2017.
Operating Earnings Per Share (1), a non-GAAP measure, were $0.77 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared with $0.73 in the prior year quarter. A reconciliation of non-GAAP Operating Earnings Per Share to GAAP results is provided below, with additional information included in the attachment to this release. For fiscal year 2018, operating earnings per share were $3.79 compared with $3.46 last year. Figures may not add due to rounding.
Adjusted EBITDA (2), a non-GAAP measure, was $54.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared with $62.2 million for the prior year quarter. For fiscal year 2018, Adjusted EBITDA was $264.2 million compared with $284.7 million in fiscal year 2017.
Lenny Comma, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Same-store sales were positive in the fourth quarter, although we experienced a slowdown in September along with the rest of the category. The competitive environment remains extremely aggressive, but we continue to avoid deep discounting which we believe is not in the best interests of the long-term health of the brand.
“We completed our refranchising initiative during the quarter with the sale of 8 Jack in the Box ® restaurants, and our franchise mix now stands at approximately 94 percent.
“We remain firmly committed to returning cash to shareholders with the purchase of $140 million of stock in the quarter and $340 million during the year. Following the completion of our longer-term financing plans, we plan to increase our leverage up to 5.0 times EBITDA and expect to return more than $1 billion through fiscal year 2022 to our shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.
“Our long-term goals are centered around meeting evolving consumer needs, with emphasis on improving operations consistency and targeted investments designed to maximize our returns. We remain focused on balancing the interests of all our stakeholders, including our franchisees, customers, employees and shareholders.”
Increase/(decrease) in same-store sales:
Jack in the Box system same-store sales increased 0.5 percent for the quarter and lagged the QSR sandwich segment by 1.5 percentage points for the comparable period, according to The NPD Group’s SalesTrack ® Weekly for the 12-week time period ended September 30, 2018. Included in this segment are 16 of the top QSR sandwich and burger chains in the country. Company same-store sales increased 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter driven by average check growth of 2.8 percent, partially offset by a 2.0 percent decrease in transactions.
Restaurant-Level EBITDA (3), a non-GAAP measure, increased by 300 basis points to 26.1 percent of company restaurant sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 from 23.1 percent a year ago. The increase was due primarily to the benefit of refranchising, partially offset by wage inflation, higher costs for food and packaging and higher maintenance and repairs expenses. Food and packaging costs, as a percentage of company restaurant sales, increased in the quarter due primarily to unfavorable product mix and higher costs for ingredients, partially offset by menu price increases. Commodity costs increased 1.3 percent in the quarter as compared with the prior year. Restaurant Operating Margin (3), a non-GAAP measure, increased to 22.5 percent of company restaurant sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 from 19.2 percent in the prior year quarter.
Franchise EBITDA (3), a non-GAAP measure, as a percentage of total franchise revenues decreased to 58.6 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 from 60.3 percent in the prior year quarter. The decrease was due primarily to a decrease in franchise fees resulting from a decrease in the number of restaurants sold to franchisees, an increase in costs associated with franchisee restaurant remodels, and incremental costs incurred in 2018 related to the implementation of a mystery guest program. Franchise Margin (3), a non-GAAP measure, decreased to 50.0 percent of total franchise revenues in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared with 52.1 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.
SG&A expenses for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 decreased by $1.0 million and were 14.0 percent of revenues compared with 11.2 percent in the prior year quarter. Advertising costs, which are included in SG&A, were $6.8 million in the fourth quarter compared with $7.2 million in the prior year quarter. The $0.4 million decrease in advertising costs was due to a $3.2 million decrease resulting from refranchising, which was partially offset by an incremental $2.8 million of spending in the quarter. The $0.6 million decrease in G&A excluding advertising was primarily driven by $3.2 million in transition services income resulting from the sale of Qdoba, which was reflected as a reduction to SG&A. The decrease was further attributable to a $1.1 million decrease in share-based compensation, a $0.9 million decrease due primarily to workforce reductions related to refranchising, and a $0.4 million decrease in pension and postretirement benefits. These decreases were partially offset by a $4.0 million increase in bonus due to higher levels of performance in 2018 versus the prior year as compared to target bonus levels and mark-to-market adjustments on investments supporting the company’s non-qualified retirement plans resulting in a $0.8 million year-over-year increase in SG&A. As a percentage of system-wide sales, G&A excluding advertising was 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared with 2.4 percent in the 2017 quarter.
In fiscal 2018, the company began presenting depreciation and amortization as a separate line item in its consolidated statements of earnings to better align with similar presentation made by many of its peers and to provide additional disclosure that is meaningful for investors. The prior year consolidated statement of earnings was adjusted to conform with this new presentation. Depreciation and amortization was previously presented within company restaurant costs, franchise occupancy expenses, selling, general and administrative expenses, and impairment and other charges, net, in the company’s consolidated statements of earnings.
Restructuring charges of $5.8 million, or approximately $0.17 per diluted share, were recorded during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, primarily relating to severance costs, compared with $1.4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the prior year quarter. Restructuring charges are included in “Impairment and other charges, net” in the accompanying consolidated statements of earnings. Including these charges, impairment and other charges, net, increased in the fourth quarter to $8.0 million from $4.3 million in the year ago quarter.
Interest expense, net, increased by $2.2 million in the fourth quarter due primarily to a higher effective interest rate for 2018 and higher debt levels.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”), enacted into law on December 22, 2017, reduced the federal statutory rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as of January 1, 2018. As a company with a fiscal year-end of September 30, the tax rate reduction was phased in, resulting in a blended statutory federal tax rate of 24.5 percent for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018. In addition, the Tax Act resulted in a non-cash increase to the provision for income taxes of $0.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, and $32.5 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2018, related primarily to the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities at the new lower rates. This revaluation was based upon estimates and interpretations of the Tax Act which may be refined as further guidance is issued.
In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, the company adopted Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-09, Compensation-Stock Compensation: Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting (“ASU 2016-09”). As required by the updated accounting standard, excess tax benefits or deficiencies are now recorded to the provision for income taxes in the consolidated statement of earnings, on a prospective basis, instead of additional paid-in capital in the consolidated balance sheet. The adoption resulted in an increase to the provision for income taxes of $0.1 million, or less than $0.01 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, and a reduction to the provision for income taxes of $2.0 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2018, but had no additional impact on cash paid for income taxes. Excess tax benefits will vary in future periods, as such amounts are dependent on the number of shares released related to employee stock compensation arrangements and fluctuations in the company’s stock price.
Qdoba Discontinued Operations
In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, the company entered into a definitive agreement to sell Qdoba, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, to certain funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC. The transaction closed on March 21, 2018, and operating results for Qdoba are included in discontinued operations for all periods presented. However, the company did not allocate any general and administrative shared services expenses to discontinued operations prior to the sale.
The company repurchased approximately 1.6 million shares of its common stock in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 at an average price of $87.78 per share for an aggregate cost of $140.0 million. During fiscal year 2018, the company repurchased approximately 3.9 million shares at an average price of $86.86 per share for an aggregate cost of $340.0 million. This leaves approximately $41.0 million remaining under a stock-buyback program authorized by its Board of Directors that expires in November 2019. On November 15, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized an additional $60 million stock-buyback program that also expires in November 2019.
The company also announced today that on November 15, 2018, its Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.40 per share on the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on December 18, 2018, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 5, 2018.
This release includes forward-looking guidance for certain non-GAAP financial measures, including Restaurant-Level EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA. The company is unable without unreasonable effort to provide reconciliations of these forward-looking non-GAAP measures.
Effective fiscal 2019, the company adopted the new US GAAP revenue standard (Topic 606) using the cumulative effect transition method, and therefore no prior periods will be restated. The company expects the new revenue standard to primarily result in an increase to franchise revenues and a corresponding increase to franchise expenses related to the reclassification of marketing fees received from franchisees. In addition, certain amounts previously classified as general and administrative expense will be reflected as franchise expenses. The impact of the new revenue standard has been included within the fiscal 2019 guidance provided below.
Fiscal Year 2019 Guidance
The following guidance and underlying assumptions reflect the company’s current expectations for the fiscal year ending September 29, 2019. Fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018 are 52-week years, with 16 weeks in the first quarter, and 12 weeks in each of the second, third and fourth quarters.System same-store sales of approximately flat to up 2.0 percent. Commodity cost inflation of approximately 2.0 percent. Restaurant-Level EBITDA of approximately 26.0 to 27.0 percent of company restaurant sales. SG&A as a percentage of revenues of approximately 8.5 to 9.0 percent, which reflects the new revenue recognition standards, or 11.5 to 12.0 percent using the prior methodology. G&A as a percentage of system-wide sales of approximately 1.8 to 2.0 percent, which reflects the new revenue recognition standards, or 2.0 to 2.2 percent using the prior methodology. Approximately 25 to 35 new restaurants opening system-wide, the majority of which will be franchise locations. Capital expenditures of approximately $30 to $35 million. Tenant improvement allowances of approximately $25 million. Tax rate of approximately 26.0 to 27.0 percent, subject to fluctuations arising from the impact of excess tax benefits from share-based compensation arrangements. Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $260 to $270 million. Following implementation of a new capital structure in the first half of fiscal 2019, the company expects to increase its leverage ratio to approximately 5.0 times EBITDA.
The company will host a conference call for financial analysts and investors on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, beginning at 8:30 a.m. PT (11:30 a.m. ET). The conference call will be broadcast live over the Internet via the Jack in the Box Inc. corporate website. To access the live call through the Internet, log onto the Investors section of the Jack in the Box Inc. website at http://investors.jackinthebox.com at least 15 minutes prior to the event in order to download and install any necessary audio software. A replay of the call will be available through the Jack in the Box Inc. corporate website for 21 days, beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m. PT on November 20, 2018.
About Jack in the Box Inc.
Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), based in San Diego, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box ® restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. For more information on Jack in the Box, including franchising opportunities, visit www.jackinthebox.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “goals,” “guidance,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “may,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions. These statements are based on management’s current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our business and the industry in which we operate. These estimates and assumptions involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that are in some cases beyond our control. Factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the success of new products, marketing initiatives and restaurant remodels and drive-thru enhancements; the impact of competition, unemployment, trends in consumer spending patterns and commodity costs; the company’s ability to reduce G&A and operate efficiently; the company’s ability to achieve and manage its planned growth, which is affected by the availability of a sufficient number of suitable new restaurant sites, the performance of new restaurants, risks relating to expansion into new markets and successful franchisee development; litigation risks; the company’s ability to enhance shareholder value; supply chain disruption; food-safety incidents or negative publicity impacting the reputation of the company’s brand; the company’s ability to obtain additional financing and increase our debt leverage; and stock market volatility. These and other factors are discussed in the company’s annual report on Form 10-K and its periodic reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available online at http://investors.jackinthebox.com or in hard copy upon request. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as the result of new information or otherwise.
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