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The company's strongest business divisions are Wendy's U.S. and Canada, and Tim Hortons in Canada. Schuessler said the company is making rapid progress improving its Tim Hortons(R) business in the U.S. and is working to improve its international business.
"Value creation for all of our constituencies is one of our most important objectives," said Schuessler. "That means creating value for shareholders, customers, employees, franchisees and suppliers. "Going forward, the best way that we can create value is to focus on our core businesses of Wendy's(R) in North America and Tim Hortons in Canada. That is our highest priority and we will focus on continuous improvement," Schuessler added.
"At the same time, we are excited that our Tim Hortons brand is being embraced by consumers in our three primary U.S. markets—Buffalo, N.Y., Michigan and central Ohio. The momentum is very impressive with double-digit same-store sales growth at Tim Hortons U.S. for six consecutive quarters."
The company has strengths in its international Wendy's business, primarily in certain Latin American countries and in the Caribbean islands. The company continues to support franchisees' business plans and growth objectives in more than 30 countries and territories around the world. The company faces difficult economic conditions in Argentina and is conducting a review of its investment in the market. Schuessler said the company is focused on analyzing and developing additional growth opportunities. The company recently announced that it was investing in a new Wendy's bun manufacturing and distribution facility. The plant is being built in Zanesville, Ohio.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kerrii Anderson said the company is on track to meet its restaurant development goal of at least 500 new systemwide units in 2000. Anderson said the company has repurchased 22 million common shares for $491 million since the beginning of its stock repurchase program in 1998. Anderson reported that the company's strategic initiatives enabled it to improve return on invested capital by 170 basis points over a two-year period to 11.1% in 1999. The company is on track to improve ROIC again this year by at least 30 to 60 basis points.
"We're very pleased with our performance over the past two years," said Anderson. "EPS excluding asset gains has increased by at least 17% for seven consecutive quarters and we are improving returns. We will continue to focus on key metrics and raise the bar on performance," Anderson said. Anderson said that the company is analyzing opportunities to invest in technology to make significant improvements in the business. Supply chain management is one of the company's biggest opportunities.
Tom Mueller, president and chief operating officer of Wendy's North America said, "we will continue to focus on continuous improvement. New restaurant development is a high priority and we are testing some non-traditional units as part of an overall development strategy. "Our Service Excellence(R) program has produced outstanding results as our speed of service and accuracy at the pick-up window continue to improve," Mueller said. "We're very excited about our rapidly growing late night business. We are building a third major day part to complement lunch and dinner.
"Of course, all of our initiatives start with Wendy's quality products. That includes core products such as our Spicy Chicken(TM) sandwich and promotional sandwiches like the Bacon Mushroom Melt(TM) hamburger," Mueller said. "We also have exciting Kids' Meal(TM) promotions such as our tie-in with the Universal Studio's film "The Grinch(R)", which starts in a few weeks."
Paul House, president and chief operating officer of Tim Hortons, said the chain's excellent results are achieved by constantly reinventing the concept. "We innovate with new products such as our flavored coffees and the new chicken stew in a bread bowl," said House. "We also continue to focus on better store operations, faster service at the pick-up window and new restaurant formats.
"We plan on continuing to grow Tim Hortons in Canada with same- store sales growth, new restaurant development and excellent marketing. Our U.S. business is rapidly improving and we are developing plans to grow into additional markets," House said.
Web cast, future dates and disclosure information The company plans to web cast on the Internet its meeting today starting at 7:45 a.m. (Eastern Time). To access the web cast on the Internet, go to www.wendys.com, select "investor information/news releases" and then select "web cast".
Copies of the slides from the meeting are available by contacting the company at 614-764-3251. The company reported its October same-store sales results. Wendy's U.S. company store sales increased 3.4% and Tim Hortons Canada increased 8.9%. Management plans to publish its November sales results on December 7 or 8.
The company plans to release its fourth quarter and year-end results on February 9, 2001, and host a meeting with investors on February 12, 2001, in New York. The meeting will be web cast on the Internet. Contact the company's investor relations department (614) 764-3521 for more information.