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Restaurant Brands (QSR) Down 2.6% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Restaurant Brands (QSR). Shares have lost about 2.6% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Restaurant Brands due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Restaurant Brands Q4 Earnings & Revenues Top Estimates

Restaurant Brands reported better-than-expected results in the fourth-quarter 2018, after missing the estimates in the preceding quarter. Both the top and bottom line also increased on a year-over-year basis.

Adjusted earnings of 68 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and increased 3% from the year-ago quarter number. This uptick can be primarily attributable to a consistent improvement in the company’s top line.

Total revenues came in at $1,385 million, which outpaced the consensus estimate of $1,378 million. The metric also improved 12.2% from the year-ago quarter figure, courtesy of increased system-wide sales across the company’s brands.

Segmental Revenues

Restaurant Brands operates through three segments — Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.

Revenues at Tim Hortons totaled $852 million compared with $822 million in the prior-year quarter. Rise in franchise and property revenues led to revenue growth. Also, system-wide sales increased 2.4% on the back of net restaurant growth. Comps at this segment grew 1.9% compared with 0.1% gain in the prior-year quarter and 0.6% growth reported in the last reported quarter.

Burger King’s revenues increased from $345 million in fourth-quarter 2017 to $427 million in the quarter under review, mainly driven by increased franchise and property revenues. Meanwhile, system-wide sales rose 8.4%, narrower than 12.3% growth registered in the year-ago comparable period and a 7.8% increase in the last reported quarter. System-wide sales growth can be attributed to net restaurant growth of 6.1% and positive comps growth.

Comps grew 1.7% in the quarter under review compared with 4.6% growth in the prior-year quarter and a 1% increase in the last reported quarter.

Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, which was acquired on Mar 27, 2017, reported revenues of $106 million compared with $67 million in the year-ago quarter.

Also, system-wide sales rose 6.3% owing to net restaurant growth of 6.8% and comps growth of 0.1%. Notably, system-wide sales growth compared favorably with prior-year quarter’s 6.8% increase. Moreover, comparable sales compared favorably with the prior-year quarter’s comps decline of 1.3%.

Operating Performance

Per the Previous Accounting Standard, the company’s adjusted EBITDA rose 2.6% on an organic basis driven by system-wide sales growth. Segment-wise, Tim Horton’s EBITDA was up 0.6%, organically. On an organic basis, Burger King’s EBITDA grew 3.3% year over year. Popeye’s EBITDA was up 13.3%, organically.

Cash and Capital

Restaurant Brands exited the fourth quarter with cash and cash equivalent balance of $913 million, under the new accounting standard. As of Dec 31, 2018, total debt was $12.3 billion. The company’s board of directors declared a dividend of 50 cents per share for the first quarter of 2019, up 11.1% from the prior-year quarter dividend, payable Apr 3 to its shareholders of record at the close of business as of Mar 15.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Fresh estimates followed a downward path over the past two months.

VGM Scores

At this time, Restaurant Brands has a subpar Growth Score of D, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Restaurant Brands has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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