Tim Hortons plans U.S. push as profit climbs
By Susan Taylor
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Fourth-quarter profit at Tim Hortons rose 11.5 percent, the coffee and doughnut chain said on Wednesday, as new locations and higher prices more than offset rising costs.
Well known as Tims in Canada, the quick-service restaurant also said it plans a bigger push into the U.S. market in 2008, shrugging off market jitters about weaker consumer spending.
"I see this a great opportunity for the Tim Hortons chain to grow," Chief Executive Paul House said on a conference call.
"Real estate costs are coming off, hopefully building costs will follow, and there's lots of people around that have been, especially in the U.S., displaced out of jobs, that are looking for franchises."
The company, which named insider Don Schroeder on Tuesday as House's successor, effective March 1, also sweetened its quarterly dividend by nearly 29 percent to 9 Canadian cents.
Net earnings for the period ended December 30 grew to C$75.7 million ($74.7 million), or 40 Canadian cents a share, from C$67.9 million, or 35 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.
That matches the mean analyst estimate for a profit of 40 Canadian cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Operating income climbed 9.3 percent to C$116.2 million. Continued...