Toronto, Ontario, March 8, 2017 – Pizza Pizza Royalty Corp. (the “Company”), which owns the Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 Rights and Marks, released financial results today for the three months and year ended December 31, 2016.
Fourth Quarter highlights:
- Royalty Pool sales increased 0.9%
- Same store sales increased 1.8%
- Restaurant network grew by three, net locations
Royalty Pool sales increased 2.1%
Same store sales increased 1.9%
Restaurant network grew by 13, net locations
Royalty Pool of restaurants increased by a net, six effective January 1, 2016
Monthly dividend increased 2.3% in June, 2016
For the three months ended December 31, 2016 (“Quarter”), System Sales from the 736 restaurants in the Royalty Pool increased 0.9% to $142.7 million from $141.4 million in the prior year comparable quarter when there were 730 restaurants in the Royalty Pool. For the year, Royalty Pool System sales increased 2.1% to $544.9 million from $533.8 million in the prior year.
Royalty Pool System Sales for the Quarter and the twelve months increased over the prior year comparative periods as a result of the reported same store sales growth (“SSSG”), and the impact of net new restaurants added to the Royalty Pool on January 1, 2016. The full year system sales also benefitted from the extra day in February 2016 due to the leap year, which management estimates the sales to be approximately $1.0 million.
SSSG, the key driver of yield growth for shareholders of the Company, increased by 1.8% (3.4% – 2015) for the Quarter when compared to the same quarter last year and increased by 1.9% (4.5% – 2015) for the year. SSSG is not affected by the additional day during the leap year, as SSSG is calculated using a 13-week comparative basis.
SSSG is driven by the growth in the average customer check and in customer traffic both of which are affected by changes in pricing and sales mix. During the Quarter and for the full year, the average check increased while customer traffic decreased when compared to the same periods last year.
Paul Goddard, CEO, Pizza Pizza Limited, said: “We are pleased with the continued, strong, year-over-year sales growth at our Pizza Pizza restaurants, which account for over 80% of the Company’s royalty pool sales. Our strong performance at Pizza Pizza more than offsets the results at Pizza 73 in Alberta, where we continue to encounter economic weakness in that energy-dependent economy.”
MONTHLY DIVIDENDS AND WORKING CAPITAL RESERVE
In June 2016, the Company increased the monthly dividend by 2.3% to $0.0713 per share. On an annualized basis, the dividend was increased by $0.019 to $0.8556 per share. The previous dividend increase was in November 2015, when the Company increased the monthly dividend by 2.5% to $0.0697 per share or $0.8364 annualized.
The Company declared shareholder dividends of $5.3 million, or $0.2139 per share, for the Quarter compared to $5.1 million, or $0.2074 per share, for the prior year comparable quarter. The payout ratio was 96% for the Quarter and was 91% for the prior year comparable quarter.
For the Year, the Company declared shareholder dividends of $20.9 million, or $0.8476 per share, compared to $19.7 million, or $0.8155 per share, for the prior year. This is a 3.9% increase per share on a year-over-year basis. The payout ratio was 99% for the Year which was near the Company’s 100% ratio target; in the prior year the payout ratio was 95%.
For Canadian federal tax purposes, the dividend is considered a taxable eligible dividend.
The Company’s working capital reserve is $5.2 million at December 31, 2016, which is an increase of $253,000 for the year. The increase in the reserve was the result of higher royalties earned by the Company, offset by an increase in the dividend in June and an increase in corporate taxes payable.
The reserve is available to stabilize dividends and fund other expenditures in the event of short- to medium-term variability in System Sales and, thus, the Company’s royalty income. With this reserve in place, the Company has set a 2017 targeted payout ratio at or near 100% on an annualized basis. The Company does not have capital expenditure requirements or employees.
EARNINGS PER SHARE (“EPS”)
Fully-diluted basic EPS for the Quarter was $0.221 per share compared to $0.225 per share for the same quarter in 2015; for the year, EPS was $0.864 compared to $0.821 per share last year. The decrease in EPS for the Quarter is attributable to increased royalty income, offset by higher income tax expense. For the year, prior year earnings were negatively impacted by the non-cash swap termination costs recognized in April 2015 in the amount of $1.2 million.
As compared to basic EPS, the Company considers “adjusted” EPS to be a more meaningful indicator of the Company’s operating performance and, therefore, presents fully-diluted adjusted EPS. Adjusted EPS for the Quarter decreased 0.9% to $0.231 compared to $0.233 in the same quarter last year, and remained flat for the year. The prior year adjusted earnings benefited from a non-recurring tax deduction in the second quarter last year provided by the “non-cash swap termination costs” mentioned above. The benefit from the tax deduction increased adjusted EPS by $0.0086 in 2015. Without the prior year tax deduction, adjusted EPS for the year ended December 31, 2016, would have increased 1.0% over the prior year.
CURRENT INCOME TAX EXPENSE
Current income tax expense for the Quarter was $1.6 million and $5.6 million for the Year. For the 2015 comparative quarter and year, the current tax was $1.5 million and $5.1 million, respectively. The tax expense remained relatively consistent in the Quarter as operating results were comparable. The increase in the tax expense over the prior year is due to the Company’s increased ownership percentage of Pizza Pizza Royalty Limited Partnership (“Partnership”) earnings in the current year, coupled with the fact that the prior year’s taxable income was reduced by the “non-cash swap termination costs” mentioned above. The one-time tax recovery associated with the non-cash swap termination costs in 2015 was approximately $265,000.
Of particular note is that the Company’s earnings from operations before income taxes, calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”), differs significantly from its taxable income, largely due to the tax amortization of the Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 Rights and Marks. The amount of the tax amortization deducted is based on a declining basis and will decrease annually.
The number of restaurants in the Company’s Royalty Pool increased by a net, six to 736 on the January 1, 2016 Adjustment Date. The number of restaurants in the Royalty Pool remained unchanged through December 31, 2016.
During the Quarter, Pizza Pizza Limited (“PPL”) opened seven restaurants and closed four. By brand, for the Quarter, Pizza Pizza opened four traditional and two non-traditional restaurants; three non-traditional locations were closed. Pizza 73 opened one traditional restaurant and closed one non-traditional location.
For the year, PPL opened 25 restaurants and closed 12, increasing the overall number of restaurants to 752 locations across Canada. By brand, for the year, Pizza Pizza opened 12 traditional restaurants and 11 non-traditional locations; eight non-traditional locations were closed. Pizza 73 opened one traditional location and one non-traditional location; four non-traditional locations were closed.
Readers should note that the number of restaurants added to the Royalty Pool each year may differ from the number of restaurant openings and closings reported by PPL on an annual basis as the periods for which they are reported differ slightly. For the January 1, 2017 Adjustment Date, 15 net restaurants were added to the Royalty Pool compared to 13 net openings in fiscal 2016.
SELECTED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
The following table sets out selected financial information and other data of the Company and should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company. Readers should note that the 2016 results are not directly comparable to the 2015 results because of an extra day of royalty revenue in 2016 due to the leap year, in addition to the fact that there are 736 restaurants in the 2016 Royalty Pool compared to 730 restaurants in the 2015 Royalty Pool.
As previously announced, the Company will host a conference call to discuss the results. The details of the conference call are as follows:
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. ET
Call-in number: 416-340-2218 / 866-223-7781
Recording call in number: 905-694-9451 / 800-408-3053
Available until midnight, March 23, 2017
A recording of the call will also be available on the Company’s website www.pizzapizza.ca.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements in this report may constitute “forward-looking” statements which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. When used in this report, such statements include such words as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “believe”, “plan”, and other similar terminology. These statements reflect management’s current expectations regarding future events and speak only as of the date of this report. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including those described in the Company’s annual information form. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws.
For further information:
Curt Feltner, Chief Financial Officer, Pizza Pizza Limited
(416) 967-1010 x307
Christine D’Sylva, Vice President, Finance & Investor Relations, Pizza Pizza Limited
(416) 967-1010 x393