August 1, 2012 / 12:42 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Burger King's revamped menu is a hit, profit rises

* Profit ex-items 17 cents/share vs Street view 14 cents

* System-wide comparable sales rise 4.4 pct

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Burger King Worldwide Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as new items on the fast-food chain’s menu, and accompanying advertising campaigns, helped boost sales in the United States and Canada.

The Miami-based chain, known for its “Whopper” hamburgers, has historically focused on young males, but it has recently attempted to broaden its appeal by adding fruit smoothies, salads, bacon ice cream sundaes and BBQ sandwiches to its menu.

The third-largest U.S. hamburger chain, behind McDonald’s Corp and Wendy’s Co, said net income rose to $48.2 million, or 14 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $30.2 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned 17 cents a share, topping analysts’ average estimate of 14 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 9.2 percent to $540.8 million. System-wide comparable sales, or sales at company-owned and franchise restaurants open at least 13 months, rose 4.4 percent.

Burger King shares, which closed at $15.32 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, were unchanged in premarket trade. The company went public in June at $14.50 a share.

Burger King’s return to the stock market came less than two years after it was taken private in a $3.26 billion sale to Brazilian investment fund 3G Capital Management LLC. It went public through a “reverse-merger” in which Justice Holdings, a traded shell company co-founded by hedge fund veteran Bill Ackman, absorbed Burger King.

Founded in 1954, Burger King has more than 12,500 locations around the world. It recently announced expansion deals in fast-growth countries like Brazil, Russia and China. The chain has also slashed costs, sold restaurants to franchisees, and begun renovating units.

About 94 percent of Burger King restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees.

On Wednesday, the company said its U.S. and Canadian franchisees had agreed to remodel 564 restaurants, bringing the total remodel commitment in the region to more than 1,500 restaurants as of June 30.

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