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Sonic Corp. Reports Operating Results (10-K)

October 28, 2011 | About:

Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC) filed Annual Report for the period ended 2011-08-31.

Sonic Corp. has a market cap of $473.1 million; its shares were traded at around $7.64 with a P/E ratio of 14.4 and P/S ratio of 0.9. Sonic Corp. had an annual average earning growth of 15.1% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated Sonic Corp. the business predictability rank of 3.5-star.

Highlight of Business Operations:

Overview of Business Performance. Sales momentum for fiscal year 2011 showed improvement, highlighted by positive same-store sales, particularly during the third fiscal quarter. System-wide same-store sales increased 0.5% during fiscal year 2011 as compared to a decline of 7.8% for fiscal year 2010. Same-store sales at Company Drive-Ins increased by 1.8% during fiscal year 2011 as compared to a decline of 8.8% for fiscal year 2010. We believe these results reflect the positive impact of the initiatives implemented in fiscal year 2010, including product quality improvements made over the past two years and a greater emphasis on personalized service with skating carhops. We also believe these results reflect a slightly improving economy. Positive system-wide same-store sales drive other aspects of our multi-layered growth strategy, such as our ascending royalty rate and increased operating cash flows. Net income and diluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2011 were $19.2 million and $0.31, respectively, as compared to net income of $21.2 million or $0.34 per diluted share for fiscal year 2010. Excluding an after-tax net loss of $14.4 million from the early extinguishment of debt during fiscal year 2011 and a $1.1 million tax benefit recognized during the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, net income and diluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2011 were $32.6 million and $0.53, respectively.

During fiscal year 2011, our system-wide media expenditures were approximately $170 million as compared to $167 million in fiscal year 2010. We use varying forms of local advertising mediums, such as television, outdoor billboards, radio, online and print to optimize media impressions in drive-in trade areas. We also continue to invest in system-wide marketing fund efforts, which are largely used for national cable television advertising. Expenditures for national media advertising represented 32% of system-wide media expenditures during fiscal year 2011, down from 43% in 2010. For fiscal year 2012, we expect system-wide media expenditures to be approximately $170 million to $175 million with expenditures for national media advertising representing approximately 45% of that amount.

Same-store sales for Company Drive-Ins increased 1.8% for fiscal year 2011, as compared to a decline of 8.8% for fiscal year 2010, which represents an improving trend that we attribute to the initiatives we have implemented and a slightly improving economy. In addition to the implementation of system-wide initiatives in fiscal year 2010, we have implemented a number of initiatives at Company Drive-Ins which have contributed to their improved performance. These initiatives included restructuring management of our Company Drive-In operations to reduce excess management layers, revising the compensation program at the drive-in level, and implementing a customer service initiative to improve sales and profits. These efforts were focused on narrowing the average unit volume gap with Franchise Drive-Ins and improving restaurant-level margins. Company Drive-In sales decreased $3.5 million, or 0.9%, during fiscal year 2011 as compared 2010. An improvement in same-store sales and, to a lesser extent, new drive-in openings during fiscal year 2011 resulted in an $8.1 million increase in sales which was more than offset by a $7.2 million decrease in sales caused by the refranchising of 16 Company Drive-Ins in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010 and six drive-ins in fiscal year 2011 as well as a $4.4 million decrease related to drive-ins that were closed during or subsequent to fiscal year 2010.

Franchise royalties increased $1.7 million for fiscal year 2011, which was primarily driven by an increase in same-store sales combined with incremental royalties from newly constructed and refranchised drive-ins. The lower effective royalty rate for fiscal year 2011 was attributable to various royalty incentive programs. Franchise royalties declined $4.3 million or 3.4% in fiscal year 2010 as compared to fiscal year 2009. Same-store sales decreases combined with a lower effective royalty rate in 2010 resulted in a decrease in royalties of $11.5 million, which was partially offset by $7.2 million in incremental royalties from newly constructed and refranchised drive-ins.

Provision for Impairment of Long-Lived Assets. Provision for impairment of long-lived assets decreased $14.3 million for fiscal year 2011. This decrease was primarily the result of the $15.2 million non-cash impairment of long-lived assets we recorded in fiscal year 2010, to reduce the carrying cost of the related operating assets to an estimated fair value. The provision for impairment increase from $11.2 million in fiscal year 2009 to $15.2 million in fiscal year 2010 primarily related to lower sales and profits for Company Drive-Ins resulting from the sustained economic downturn and weak results during the summer months for operating stores. Assets impaired included operating drive-ins, property leased to franchisees, surplus property and other assets.

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About the author:

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