Industry News | April 26, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

Transitioning Panera Bread Reports Another Strong Quarter

Panera Bread
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Thanks to its impending merger agreement with JAB Holdings Company, Panera Bread is in a bit of a gray zone from a financial perspective. The company refrained from updating its outlook for full-year 2017 in response. The deal, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, is slated to close in the third quarter.

It makes sense then to keep a lid on projections given the unknown factor at hand: JAB Holdings’ actual plans for the brand. The Luxembourg-based owner of Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea, among others, agreed to acquire Panera for $315 per share in cash, a deal valued around $7.5 billion, including $340 million in debt. The company’s overseas roots could help Panera expand internationally and transform the more than 2,000-unit chain into a global powerhouse. Tuesday’s earnings release was one of Panera’s last as a public company.

MORE: Panera to Commit 10,000 New Employees to Delivery

With all that in mind, Panera’s quarter 1 earnings presented a mixed bag of sorts, although the fast casual leader’s negatives would be resounding positives for most. It’s all relative when you’ve just agreed to the second largest deal in the history of the restaurant industry.

Panera’s first-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $1.83 were a shade under Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.84. Earnings per share, on the other hand, rose 17.3 percent year-over-year. Revenues of $727.6 million increased 6.2 percent year-over-year, which can be credited to increased franchise royalties and fees, as well as higher sales and fresh dough and other product sales to franchisees. That mark was higher than a consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected $1.83 per share on revenue of $717.1 million.

System-wide comparable net bakery-café sales rose 2.6 percent, besting the 0.7 percent growth in the previous quarter. Sales grew 5.4 percent at company-owned units (they were up 3 percent in the fourth quarter). Franchisee-operated stores, which declined 1.4 percent in the previous quarter, increased 0.3 percent.

Panera’s bottom line rose from $37.83 million in last year’s first quarter to $41.33 million.