UPDATE 2-Burger King stock up on profit view, CEO going to Heinz

Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:54pm EDT
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* Burger King CFO Schwartz to succeed Hees as CEO

* Forecasts Q1 EPS beat on soft restaurant sales

* Shares up almost 4 percent

By Lisa Baertlein and Martinne Geller

April 11 (Reuters) - Burger King Worldwide Inc forecast a slightly higher quarterly profit on Thursday than Wall Street expected, even though spending among fast-food diners remains weak.

The hamburger chain, which has a long history of ownership and management changes, also said Chief Executive Bernardo Hees will leave to take over at H.J. Heinz Co.

The company's shares were up 4.1 percent in afternoon trading.

Burger King expects first-quarter adjusted earnings of 17 cents per share - a penny higher than the average analyst estimate complied by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company expects sales at restaurants open at least 13 months to fall 1.5 percent globally and 3 percent in the United States and Canada in the first quarter, slightly more than Wall Street's average estimates.   Continued...