Wendy's buys back shares, raises '07 e.p.s. guidance

by Eric Schroeder
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DUBLIN, OHIO — Wendy’s International, Inc. said it has repurchased 9 million shares of its previously announced accelerated share repurchase transaction at a price of $31.33 per share. With the move, the nation’s third-largest hamburger chain said it now expects earnings per share between 11c and 14c for the first quarter and $1.26 to $1.32 for fiscal 2007. In early February, Wendy’s said e.p.s. for the full year would be $1.17 to $1.23, but did not include the impact of the share repurchase.

Wendy’s also confirmed its 2007 full-year guidance for earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization remains unchanged at $330 million to $340 million.

"We expect Wendy’s first-quarter results to reflect a significant increase in store margin performance compared to continuing operations a year ago," said Kerrii Anderson, chief executive officer and president. "However, our first-quarter 2007 results will reflect the impact of several items that affect the comparability to last year’s first quarter."

The items that will affect first-quarter results include a year-over-year decrease of approximately 35 company-operated restaurants and approximately 40 franchise restaurants, approximately $1.5 million of pre-tax expenses for franchisee remodeling incentives and about $4 million in pre-tax restaurant closing and lease termination expenses.

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