Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year of 2013

  Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Fourth   Quarter and Full Year of 2013  Business Wire  SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- February 27, 2014  Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. ("Carrols" or the “Company”) (Nasdaq:TAST) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December29, 2013. The Company also provided guidance for 2014.  Highlights for the fourth quarter of 2013 versus the fourth quarter of 2012 include:    *Restaurant sales increased 1.8% to $165.5 million from $162.6 million;   *Comparable restaurant sales increased 1.7% compared to a 7.3% increase in     the prior year period, marking ten consecutive quarters of positive     comparable restaurant sales growth;   *Net loss from continuing operations was $2.1 million, or $0.09 per diluted     share, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $8.8 million,     or $0.39 per diluted share, in the prior year period;   *Net loss from continuing operations included impairment and other lease     charges of $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, after tax. Net loss     from continuing operations in the prior year period included certain     charges, including integration costs related to the May 2012 acquisition     and costs related to the conclusion and settlement of the long-standing     litigation with the EEOC. In aggregate these charges were approximately     $4.0 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, after tax; and   *Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, increased over 200% to     $10.4 million from $3.3 million in the prior year period. (Please refer to     the reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net loss from continuing     operations in the tables at the end of this release).  Highlights for the full year 2013 versus the full year 2012 include:    *Restaurant sales increased 23.0% to $663.5 million in 2013 from $539.6     million in 2012, and included $295.4 million and $174.3 million,     respectively, from restaurants acquired in May 2012;   *Comparable restaurant sales increased 1.0% compared to a 7.1% increase in     the prior year;   *Net loss from continuing operations was$13.5 million, or$0.59per     diluted share, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of$18.8     million, or$0.83per diluted share, in the prior year;   *Net loss from continuing operations in 2013 included impairment and other     lease charges of approximately $4.5 million, or $0.12 per diluted share,     after tax. Net loss from continuing operations in 2012 included     acquisition and integration-related costs, costs for the conclusion and     settlement of the EEOC litigation, and a loss on extinguishment of debt     from the May 2012 refinancing. In aggregate these charges were     approximately $12.9 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, after tax; and   *Adjusted EBITDA increased 37.2% to$34.3 millionfrom$25.0 millionin the     prior year period.  As of December29, 2013, Carrols owned and operated 564 BURGER KING® restaurants.  Daniel T. Accordino, the Company's Chief Executive Officer said, “We consider 2013 to have been a very successful and transitional year for the Company. Our financial performance reflected the effectiveness of Burger King’s product and marketing initiatives as sales continued to grow and operating margins increased across our entire business. In addition, our fourth quarter results provide further evidence of the progress that we made throughout 2013 improving operations and profitability of the restaurants acquired from Burger King in 2012. The acquired restaurants significantly contributed to the increase in Adjusted EBITDA and our overall operating margins for both the quarter and the full year. We also completed the remodeling of 111 restaurants in 2013, and have now upgraded more than 200 restaurants to the new 20/20 design over the past 18 months.”  Accordino continued, “The fourth quarter marked ten consecutive quarters of positive comparable restaurant sales growth and was notable given the difficult 7.3% comparison from the prior year and the continuing competitive pressures throughout the QSR segment. Our fourth quarter comparable restaurant sales trends, while tracking at approximately 3% through November, were dampened somewhat by the severe weather conditions in December. And while we have solid expectations for 2014, the persistent weather conditions have adversely affected sales in many of our markets early in the year making for a difficult start.”  Fourth Quarter 2013 Financial Results  Restaurant sales increased 1.8% to $165.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to $162.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 despite having eight fewer restaurants in operation at the end of the fourth quarter this year compared to last year. Comparable restaurant sales increased 1.7% on an overall basis including an increase of 1.8% at legacy restaurants and a 1.6% increase at the 2012 acquired restaurants. Average check was 3% higher while customer traffic decreased 1.3%.  Adjusted EBITDA was $10.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, or 6.3% of restaurant sales, compared to $3.3 million, or 2.0% of restaurant sales, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA, also a non-GAAP financial measure, increased $7.8 million to $20.2 million from $12.4 million in the prior year quarter. Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin increased from 7.6% to 12.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013, reflecting improvements at the legacy restaurants, a 5.1% decrease in cost of sales (as a percentage of sales) at the 2012 acquired restaurants, and additional profitability improvements at the 2012 acquired restaurants. (Please refer to the reconciliation of Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA to income (loss) from operations in the tables at the end of this release).  General and administrative expenses were $9.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, or 6.0% of restaurant sales, compared to $12.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, or 7.7% of restaurant sales. Such expenses in 2012 included $2.6 million related to the EEOC litigation.  Interest expense remained flat at $4.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year.  Net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $2.1 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, including impairment and other lease charges of $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share after tax. Net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $8.8 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, including integration costs related to the acquisition and costs related to the conclusion and settlement of long-standing litigation with the EEOC. In aggregate these charges were approximately $4.0 million in 2012, or $0.11 per diluted share, after tax.  2014 Guidance  The Company is providing the following guidance for 2014:    *Total restaurant sales of $665 million to $680 million including a     comparable restaurant sales increase of 1.5% to 3.5%. Comparable     restaurant sales are expected to decrease 1.5% to 2.5% in the first     quarter as a result of the severe winter weather;   *A commodity cost increase of 2.0% to 3.0%;   *General and administrative expenses of approximately $39 million to $41     million (excluding stock compensation costs);   *Adjusted EBITDA of $38 million to $42 million;   *An effective income tax benefit of 33% to 35% which could increase if the     Work Opportunity Tax Credit is reinstated and extended;   *Capital expenditures of approximately $30 million to $35 million,     including $18 million to $20 million for remodeling 65 to 75 restaurants     and $4 million to $5 million for costs to scrape and rebuild three     restaurants; and   *15 to 20 restaurant closures.  Accordino concluded, “Our long-term plan includes expanding our ownership of Burger King restaurants. We believe that there is considerable opportunity for future growth, as our right of first refusal in 20 states acquired from Burger King provides us with the ability to selectively acquire additional restaurants over time. We also believe that our progress in improving operations and profitability at the restaurants acquired in 2012 demonstrates how we can enhance shareholder value through expansion.”  Conference Call Today  Daniel T. Accordino, Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Flanders, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial results today at 8:30 AM ET.  The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing 888-846-5003 or for international callers by dialing 480-629-9856. A replay will be available one hour after the call and can be accessed by dialing 800-406-7325 or for international callers by dialing 303-590-3030; the passcode is 4667646. The replay will be available until Thursday, March 6, 2014. Investors and interested parties may listen to a live webcast of this conference call by visiting www.carrols.com under the tab "Investor Relations”.  About the Company  Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. is Burger King Corporation's largest franchisee, globally, with 564 BURGER KING® restaurants as of December29, 2013 and has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976. For more information on Carrols, please visit the company's website at www.carrols.com.  Forward-Looking Statements  Except for the historical information contained in this news release, the matters addressed are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements, written, oral or otherwise made, represent Carrols' expectation or belief concerning future events. Without limiting the foregoing, these statements are often identified by the words "may", "might", "believes", "thinks", "anticipates", "plans", "expects", "intends" or similar expressions. In addition, expressions of our strategies, intentions or plans are also forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect management's current views with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements, many of which are beyond our control. Investors are referred to the full discussion of risks and uncertainties as included in Carrols' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.                                                                                                                                                              Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.  Consolidated Statements of Operations  (in thousands except per share amounts)                                                                    (unaudited)                   (unaudited)                     Three Months Ended (a)        Twelve Months Ended (a)                     December 29,   December 30,   December 29,   December                                                                30,                     2013           2012           2013                                                                  2012 Restaurant          $  165,514     $  162,583     $  663,483     $ 539,608 sales Costs and expenses: Cost of sales       48,906         53,243         201,532        172,698 Restaurant wages and           51,677         51,049         208,404        169,857 related expenses (b) Restaurant rent     11,841         12,059         47,198         37,883 expense Other restaurant          25,752         28,199         106,508        88,883 operating expenses (b) Advertising         7,119          7,120          29,615         22,257 expense General and administrative      9,886          12,474         37,228         36,085 expenses (b) (c) Depreciation and                 8,604          7,784          33,594         26,321 amortization Impairment and other lease         555            725            4,462          977 charges Other expense       202           (481       )   17            (717      ) (income) Total costs and     164,542       172,172       668,558       554,244    expenses Income (loss)       972            (9,589     )   (5,075     )   (14,636   ) from operations Interest            4,711          4,711          18,841         12,764 expense Loss on extinguishment      —             —             —             1,509      of debt Loss from continuing operations          (3,739     )   (14,300    )   (23,916    )   (28,909   ) before income taxes Benefit for         (1,677     )   (5,506     )   (10,397    )   (10,093   ) income taxes Net loss from continuing          (2,062     )   (8,794     )   (13,519    )   (18,816   ) operations Loss from discontinued        —             (114       )   —             (72       ) operations, net of tax Net loss            $  (2,062  )   $  (8,908  )   $  (13,519 )   $ (18,888 )                                                                               Diluted net loss per share: Continuing          $  (0.09   )   $  (0.39   )   $  (0.59   )   $ (0.83   ) operations Discontinued        $  —           $  (0.01   )   $  —           $ — operations Diluted weighted average common      23,047         22,748         22,959         22,580 shares outstanding (d)             The Company uses a 52 or 53 week fiscal year that ends on the Sunday (a)   closest to December 31. The three and twelve months ended December 29,       2013 and December 30, 2012 each included thirteen and fifty-two weeks,       respectively.       Acquisition and integration expenses were included for the three and       twelve months ended December 30, 2012, respectively, as follows: $0 and (b)   $1,800 in restaurant wages and related expenses, $1,485 and $2,585 in       other restaurant operating expenses, and $(90) and $1,657 in general       and administrative expenses.       General and administrative expenses include stock-based compensation       expense of $306 and $337 for the three months ended December 29, 2013       and December 30, 2012, respectively, and $1,205 and $925 for the twelve       months ended December 29, 2013 and December 30, 2012, respectively. (c)   General and administrative expenses for the twelve months ended       December 29, 2013 also included $85 of costs related to the Company's       litigation with the EEOC that was settled in January 2013. General and       administrative expenses for the three and twelve months ended December       30, 2012 included $2,636 and $5,343, respectively of costs related to       the Company's litigation with the EEOC settled in early 2013.       Shares issuable for convertible preferred stock and non-vested (d)   restricted stock were not included in the computation of diluted net       loss per share because their effect would have been anti-dilutive for       the periods presented.                                                                                                                                                              Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.  Supplemental Information                                                                               The following table sets forth certain unaudited supplemental financial and other data for the periods indicated (in thousands, except number of restaurants, percentages and average weekly sales per restaurant):                                                                      (unaudited)                   (unaudited)                      Three Months Ended (a)        Twelve Months Ended (a)                      December      December        December      December                      29,          30,             29,          30,                       2013          2012            2013          2012 Restaurant Sales: (a) Legacy               $ 92,698      $ 90,842        $ 368,081     $ 365,331 restaurants Acquired             72,816       71,741         295,402      174,277    restaurants Total restaurant     $ 165,514    $ 162,583      $ 663,483    $ 539,608  sales Change in Comparable           1.7       %   7.3       %     1.0       %   7.1       % Restaurant Sales (b) Adjusted EBITDA      10,437        3,288           34,271        24,972 (c) Adjusted EBITDA      6.3       %   2.0       %     5.2       %   4.6       % margin (c) Adjusted Restaurant-Level     20,219        12,398          70,226        52,415 EBITDA (c) Adjusted Restaurant-Level     12.2      %   7.6       %     10.6      %   9.7       % EBITDA margin (c) Average Weekly Sales per Restaurant: (d) Legacy               24,494        23,967          24,290        23,931 restaurants Acquired             20,721        20,160          20,856        20,681 restaurants Expenses - Legacy Restaurants: (e) Cost of sales        29.2      %   30.8      %     29.6      %   30.6      % Restaurant wages and related          30.8      %   30.4      %     30.6      %   30.6      % expenses Restaurant rent      6.2       %   6.4       %     6.2       %   6.3       % expense Other restaurant operating            14.5      %   15.1      %     15.0      %   15.0      % expenses Advertising          4.1       %   4.2       %     4.2       %   3.9       % expense Expenses - Acquired Restaurants: (e) Cost of sales        30.0      %   35.2      %     31.4      %   34.9      % Restaurant wages and related          31.8      %   32.7      %     32.4      %   33.3      % expenses Restaurant rent      8.4       %   8.7       %     8.2       %   8.5       % expense Other restaurant operating            16.9      %   20.2      %     17.4      %   19.5      % expenses Advertising          4.6       %   4.6       %     4.7       %   4.6       % expense Number of Restaurants: Restaurants at beginning of         564           572             572           298 period New restaurants      2             —               2             — Acquired             1             —               1             278 restaurants Closed               (3        )   —              (11)          (4) restaurants Restaurants at       564           572             564           572 end of period                                                                                                                                  At 12/29/13   At 12/30/12 Long-term Debt                                     $ 160,536     $ 161,492 (f) Cash (including $20 million of                                     28,302        58,290 restricted cash)             Acquired restaurants represent the Burger King restaurants acquired from (a)   Burger King Corporation on May 30, 2012. Legacy restaurants refer to the       Company's Burger King restaurants other than the acquired restaurants. (b)   Restaurants are generally included in comparable restaurant sales after       they have been open or owned for 12 months.       EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted       Restaurant-Level EBITDA, and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin are       non-GAAP financial measures and may not necessarily be comparable to       other similarly titled captions of other companies due to differences in (c)   methods of calculation. Refer to the Company's reconciliation of EBITDA       and Adjusted EBITDA to net loss from continuing operations and to the       Company's reconciliation of Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA to income       (loss) from operations for further detail. Both Adjusted EBITDA margin       and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin are calculated as a       percentage of total restaurant sales. (d)   Average weekly restaurant sales are derived by dividing restaurant sales       by the average number of restaurants operating during the period. (e)   Represents restaurant expenses as a percentage of sales for the       respective group of restaurants.       Long-term debt (including current portion) at December 29, 2013 included       $150,000 of the Company's 11.25% Senior Secured Second Lien Notes,       $1,200 of lease financing obligations and $9,336 of capital lease (f)   obligations. Long-term debt (including current portion) at December 30,       2012 included $150,000 of the Company's 11.25% Senior Secured Second       Lien Notes, $1,197 of lease financing obligations and $10,295 of capital       lease obligations.                                                                                                                                                              Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.  Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures                                                                      (unaudited)                  (unaudited)                       Three Months Ended (a)       Twelve Months Ended (a)                       December      December       December      December                       29,          30,            29,          30,                       2013          2012           2013          2012 Reconciliation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA: (a) Net loss from continuing            $  (2,062 )   $ (8,794 )     $ (13,519 )   $ (18,816 ) operations Benefit for           (1,677    )   (5,506   )     (10,397   )   (10,093   ) income taxes Interest expense      4,711         4,711          18,841        12,764 Depreciation and      8,604        7,784         33,594       26,321     amortization EBITDA                9,576         (1,805   )     28,519        10,176 Impairment and other lease           555           725            4,462         977 charges Acquisition and       —             1,395          —             6,042 integration costs EEOC litigation and settlement        —             2,636          85            5,343 costs Stock compensation          306           337            1,205         925 expense Loss on extinguishment of     —            —             —            1,509      debt Adjusted EBITDA       $  10,437    $ 3,288       $ 34,271     $ 24,972   Reconciliation of Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA: (a) Adjusted Restaurant-Level      $  20,219     $ 12,398       $ 70,226      $ 52,415 EBITDA (a) Less: Restaurant-level      —             1,485          —             4,385 integration costs General and administrative        9,886         12,474         37,228        36,085 expenses Depreciation and      8,604         7,784          33,594        26,321 amortization Impairment and other lease           555           725            4,462         977 charges Other expense         202          (481     )     17           (717      ) (income) Income (loss)         $  972       $ (9,589 )     $ (5,075  )   $ (14,636 ) from operations             Within our press release, we make reference to EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA       and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA which are non-GAAP financial       measures. EBITDA represents net loss from continuing operations,       before benefit for income taxes, interest expense and depreciation and       amortization. Adjusted EBITDA represents EBITDA as adjusted to exclude (a)   impairment and other lease charges, acquisition and integration costs,       EEOC litigation and settlement costs, stock compensation expense and       loss on extinguishment of debt. Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA       represents income (loss) from operations as adjusted to exclude       restaurant-level integration costs, general and administrative       expenses, depreciation and amortization, impairment and other lease       charges, and other expense (income).                                                                                     We are presenting Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA       because we believe that they provide a more meaningful comparison than       EBITDA of the Company's core business operating results, as well as       with those of other similar companies. Additionally, we present       Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA because it excludes the impact of       general and administrative expenses, restaurant-level integration       costs, and other expense (income), all of which are non-recurring at       the restaurant level. Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA and       Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA, when viewed with the Company's       results of operations in accordance with GAAP and the accompanying       reconciliations in the table above, provide useful information about       operating performance and period-over-period growth, and provide       additional information that is useful for evaluating the operating       performance of the Company's core business without regard to potential       distortions. Additionally, management believes that Adjusted EBITDA       and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA permit investors to gain an       understanding of the factors and trends affecting our ongoing cash       earnings, from which capital investments are made and debt is       serviced.                                                                                     However, EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA       are not measures of financial performance or liquidity under GAAP and,       accordingly, should not be considered as alternatives to net income       (loss), income (loss) from operations or cash flow from operating       activities as indicators of operating performance or liquidity. Also,       these measures may not be comparable to similarly titled captions of       other companies. The tables above provide reconciliations between net       loss from continuing operations and EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA and       between Adjusted Restaurant-Level EBITDA and income (loss) from       operations.  Contact:  Investor Relations: Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. 800-348-1074, ext. 3333 investorrelations@carrols.com