Imvescor Restaurant Group Reports Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2015 Financial Results

20% Increase in Operating EBITDA and Positive Same Restaurant Sales
and System Sales

Company Increases Quarterly Dividend by 12.5% and
Board Approves Implementation of Normal Course Issuer Bid

MONTREAL, Jan. 14, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. ("IRG" or "the "Company") (TSX: IRG), a leading franchisor of restaurants operating 227 locations in Eastern Canada, reported financial results today for the 13 and 52 weeks ended October 25, 2015 ("Q4 2015"). This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's management discussion and analysis and financial statements for Fiscal 2015 which are available on the Company's website at www.imvescor.ca/investor-relations and have been posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

"Continued improvement in our financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 reflects our ongoing progress in the execution of our strategic plan, highlighted by our second consecutive quarter of positive growth in both system sales at 2.5% and same restaurant sales at 2.4%," said Frank Hennessey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. "All four of our brands achieved same restaurant sales growth with Scores returning to positive territory. Our top line growth, combined with our continued focus on expense rationalization, contributed to a 20% year-over-year increase in operating EBITDA1 and record net earnings."

"We are encouraged by the early results of our strategic plan, which is focused on improving four key pillars: Quality of food; quality of service; enhancing value and improving restaurant ambience through our restaurant rejuvenation program ("RRP") that is targeting more than 100 locations by the end of 2018.  Based on the initial success of the plan and confidence in its continued positive impact going forward, the Board has approved an increase in the quarterly dividend payment to $0.0225 per share."

Q4 2015 Financial and Operational Highlights

(All comparable figures are to fourth quarter 2014 ("Q4 2014") unless otherwise specified.)

  • Same Restaurant Sales (SRS) grew 2.4%, an improvement of 4.9 percentage points compared with Q4 2014; it was also an improvement of 1.2 percentage points over Q3 2015.
  • System Sales grew 2.5% compared to a decline of 2.9% in Q4 2014, despite 3% fewer operating weeks in the quarter due to restaurant closures.
  • Operating expenses decreased by 44.2% due primarily to non-recurring charges in Q4 2014 and ongoing expense rationalization.
  • EBITDA increased to $5.1 million compared with $0.2 million, mostly as a result of $2.9 million in non-recurring charges in Q4 2014 and as a percentage of revenue increased to 46.3% from 2.2%.
  • Operating EBITDA increased 20% to $4.6 million compared with $3.8 million and as a percentage of revenue increased to 41.1% from 35.2%.
  • Net earnings increased to $3.5 million compared with a loss of $0.8 million for Q4 2014; net earnings for Q4 2014 included $4.5 million in impairment charges.

Highlights Subsequent to Quarter End

Entering into of management agreement

In November 2015, IRG temporarily took over the operations of the manufacturer of certain Trattoria di Mikes licensed retail products to enable IRG to honour its commitments to its grocery partners. IRG entered into a management agreement with the receiver appointed to the manufacturer in the context of the issuance by the Québec Superior Court of an order in the context of the manufacturer's receivership proceedings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act which culminated in a bankruptcy order rendered on December 22, 2015 against the manufacturer. Under the management agreement, IRG is operating the facility, assuming all expenses and responsibilities pertaining to the manufacturing of the licensed retail products and is collecting directly from the retailers selling the Trattoria di Mikes retail pizzas any and all revenues generated by the operations conducted at the manufacturer's facility while under IRG's management.

 

Q4 2015 and Fiscal 2015 Selected Financial Data




(in thousands of dollars, where applicable)

Q4

Fiscal





October 25,

2015

October 26,

2014

% Change 

October 25, 2015

October 26, 2014

% Change








System Sales (i)

$ 96,027

$ 93,671

2.5%

$ 371,939

$ 371,242

0.2%

SRS (i)

2.4%

-2.5%

4.9%

0.2%

-2.7%

2.9%

Number of restaurant operating weeks

2,916

3,007

-3.0%

11,834

12,152

-2.6%

Number of restaurants

227

234

-3.0%

227

234

-3.0%

Number of Company-owned restaurants

4

6

-33.3%

4

6

-33.3%








Revenue

11,061

10,773

2.7%

44,478

46,619

-4.6%

Operating expenses

6,079

10,894

-44.2%

29,458

35,837

-17.8%

Results from operating activities

4,982

(121)

4217.4%

15,020

10,782

39.3%

EBITDA (i)

5,119

238

2050.8%

15,973

11,906

34.2%

EBITDA as a percentage of revenue

46.3%

2.2%

44.1%

35.9%

25.5%

10.4%

Operating EBITDA (i)

4,550

3,791

20.0%

15,935

16,017

-0.5%

Operating EBITDA as a percentage of revenue

41.1%

35.2%

5.9%

35.8%

34.4%

1.5%

Net earnings and comprehensive income

3,548

(840)

522.4%

10,139

5,876

72.5%

Net earnings as a percentage of revenue

32.1%

-7.8%

39.9%

22.8%

12.6%

10.2%

EPS:







Basic

0.07

(0.02)

450.0%

0.21

0.14

50.0%

Diluted

0.07

(0.01)

800.0%

0.19

0.11

72.7%








Free cash flow

5,343

1,410

278.9%

11,178

9,307

20.1%

Free cash flow as a percentage of revenue

48.3%

13.1%

35.2%

25.1%

20.0%

5.1%

Dividends paid

1,035

-

100.0%

4,911

-

100.0%








Cash




$ 3,624

$ 10,398

-65.1%

Working capital (deficiency) excluding gift cards liability



962

(21,911)

104.4%

Total long-term debt, including current portion




11,798

30,540

-61.4%

Net debt to Operating EBITDA (ii)




0.51

1.26

-74.5%


(i) System Sales, SRS, EBITDA, Operating EBITDA and Free cash flow are non-IFRS measures. Refer to the "Non-IFRS Measures and Financial Metrics" section of this press release for the definitions.
(ii) Net debt to Operating EBITDA is calculated as Total long-term debt, including current portion, less cash, divided by Operating EBITDA

 

Outlook

In April 2015, Imvescor set its three-year strategic plan that charts a roadmap for transformation and growth over the next three years. The key objectives of the three-year plan are to improve:

  • Same Restaurant Sales;
  • Franchisee profitability;
  • Leverage on shared services; and
  • Shareholder returns.

To achieve these objectives, the Company is focused on the following four pillars:

  • Quality of food;
  • Quality of service;
  • Value; and
  • Ambiance (through its investment in the RRP).

To date, the company has received expressions of interest from franchisees, for the RRP plan, for over 100 locations.  This is a clear indication of the positive acceptance of this program by the franchisee partners. Renovations have been completed at six restaurants, with another five renovations expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2016 and over 30 in total for the coming year. Management is encouraged by the performance of these locations post-renovations.

Throughout the year, the Company revamped its marketing initiatives to improve the creative component of its ad campaigns and further developed its digital marketing platform. The restaurant brands also reduced their menu offerings to maximize optimal service offerings and continued to improve the overall quality of their recipes and ingredients in order to enhance the guest experience. 

The Company will continue to invest in its shared services, primarily purchasing and restaurant development (which includes leasing, franchising, and construction), while pursuing means by which to continue to generate efficiencies from the system and rationalize costs through automation and implementation of industry leading practices.  Management expects that successful execution of its strategic plan will deliver meaningful improvements in both revenue and profitability.

Dividend Declaration

Today the Board of Directors of IRG approved an increase of 12.5% in the quarterly cash dividend payable pursuant to the Company's previously announced dividend policy of $0.02 per common share and that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.0225 per common share to be paid on February 11, 2016 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 28, 2016.

The declaration and payment of any future dividend remains at the discretion of the Board and will depend on the Company's current and anticipated cash requirements and surplus, capital expenditures requirements, regulatory restrictions, financial results, future prospects, current and future contractual restrictions such as restrictions under credit or other arrangements, the satisfaction of solvency tests imposed by the Canada Business Corporations Act for the declaration of dividends and other factors deemed relevant by the Board. Any dividend policy established by the Board, including the Company's current dividend policy can be changed at any time and is not binding on the Company. There can be no guarantee that the Company will maintain its current dividend policy or any dividend policy or that any dividend will be declared or paid.

Normal Course Issuer Bid

IRG announced today that it has received approval from its Board to implement a normal course issuer bid (the "NCIB") to purchase for cancellation up to 2,747,633 common shares, representing approximately 5 per cent of the 54,952,674 common shares which were issued and outstanding as at the close of markets on January 11, 2016. The NCIB will be subject to acceptance of the Company's notice of intention to make a normal course issuer bid by the Toronto Stock Exchange (the "TSX") and if accepted, will be conducted through the facilities of the TSX and/or alternative trading systems in Canada or by such other means as the TSX or a securities regulatory authority may permit. The price to be paid by IRG under the NCIB for any common share will be the market price at the time of acquisition, plus brokerage fees, or such other price as the TSX or a securities regulatory authority may permit, and any common share purchased pursuant to the NCIB will be cancelled. Within the past 12 months, IRG has not purchased any of its common shares.

Although the Company's priority remains the implementation of its strategic plan, the management and the Board believe that the purchase by IRG of its common shares may, under appropriate circumstances, be a responsible investment and a desirable use of its available cash, including all or part of the cash generated by the exercise of warrants, to increase shareholder value.

Conference Call Details

Frank Hennessey, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Tania M. Clarke, Chief Financial Officer will host the conference call to discuss Q4 2015 results at 8:30 am E.S.T on Thursday, January 14, 2016. To access the conference call by telephone, dial 1-888-231-8191 (Toll-Free), 514-807-9895 (Montreal) or 647-427-7450 (Toronto). 

A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available at www.imvescor.ca/investor-relations/. A recording of the conference call will be archived for replay by telephone until Thursday, January 21, 2016 at midnight. To access the archived conference call, dial 1-855-859-2056 (Toll-Free), 514-807-9274 (Montreal) or 416-849-0833 (Toronto) and enter the reservation number 96554126.

About Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. is a dynamic and innovative organization in the family and casual dining restaurant industry. The Company is a franchise and licensing business that operates restaurants in Eastern Canada under four banners: Pizza Delight®, operating primarily in Atlantic Canada, in the family/mid-scale segment, Trattoria di Mikes® and Scores®, operating primarily in Québec in the family and casual dining segments and the take-out and delivery segments, and Bâton Rouge®, operating in Québec, Ontario and Nova Scotia in the casual dining segment. The Company also licenses to third parties the right to manufacture and sell prepared food products under the Pizza Delight®, Trattoria di Mikes®, Scores® and Bâton Rouge® brands and through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Groupe Commensal Inc. manufactures and sells vegetarian branded food products in grocery stores and retail outlets under the Commensal® brand.

Non- IFRS Measures and Financial Metrics: The information contained in this press release includes some figures that are not performance measures consistent with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). Because they do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS, they may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers. 

"EBITDA" is defined as earnings or loss before interest income, interest expense, depreciation and amortization and income tax expense.

"Operating EBITDA" is defined as earnings or loss before interest income, interest expense, depreciation and amortization, income tax expense, loss on redemption of debentures, impairment of long-lived assets, impairment or impairment reversal of Imvescor rights, gain or loss on sale of property and equipment, change in onerous contract provision, costs of special committee, bargain purchase gain, reorganization costs and franchisee rejuvenation program. The definition of Operating EBITDA can change from time to time to account for unusual items or items not considered to be consistent with the Company's normal recurring operations.

"System Sales" is the aggregate sales achieved by all "Pizza Delight", "Trattoria di Mikes", "Scores" and "Bâton Rouge" restaurants, whether they are company-owned restaurants or franchises.  This performance measure indicates the Company's overall growth and reflects the direct impact of the restaurant openings and closures. 

"Same Restaurant Sales" or "SRS" is a metric used in the restaurant industry to compare sales earned in established locations over a certain period of time, such as a fiscal quarter, for the current period against sales in the same period in the previous year. SRS growth helps explain what portion of sales growth can be attributed to growth in established locations. The Company defines SRS growth as sales generated by stores that have been open for at least one fiscal year compared to the sales from the same group of restaurants in the comparable period.  The Company believes this is a meaningful measure of operating performance.

"Free cash flow" is defined as cash from operating activities less cash used in the purchases of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including but not limited to, IRG's business objectives, estimates, outlook, strategies and priorities and all other statements other than statements of historical facts. Forward-looking statements may include estimates, intentions, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact. Forward-looking statements are often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "may", "should", "would", "will", "expect", "plan", "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "predict", "potential, "targeting", "intend", "could", "might", "continue", "outlook" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of applicable securities laws.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors outside of IRG's control. A number of factors could cause the actual results of IRG to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to: risks associated with quality control, food borne illnesses and health concerns, adverse changes to economic conditions, the Company's ability to retain certain key personnel, the Company's ability to respond to various competitive factors affecting its operations, franchise development and growth of the retail licensing opportunities, changes in consumer preferences, the Company's retail products dependence on the strength of the Company's restaurant brands, the protection of the Company's intellectual property, the success of the restaurant rejuvenation plan, the Company's dependence on royalty stream, the Company's reliance on suppliers and availability and quality of raw materials, changes in the Company's relationships with its franchisees, the Company's ability to open new restaurants, the closure of restaurants, the impact of an increase in Company-owned restaurants, the Company's ability to renew leases and limit lease exposure, the risks associated with negative publicity and its impact on the Company's reputation, compliance with regulations governing confidentiality of guest information, potential litigation and other complaints, compliance with government regulations, the Company's dependence on third parties, changes in laws concerning employees, changes in the Company's relationships with its employees, the Company's ability to ensure workplace safety, risks associated with franchise regulations, compliance with regulations governing alcoholic beverages, environmental risks and regulations, public safety issues, the Company's dependence on technology, risks of underreporting of sales by franchisees, inherent risks associated with internal control over financing reporting, the indebtedness of the Company and the restrictive covenants to which it is subject, the impact of sales tax upon System Sales, the risk associated with the Company's dividend policy, the impact of seasonality and other factors on quarterly operating results, the risk of uninsured losses, changes in commodity prices and other factors referenced in the Company's Annual Information Form and the Company's other continuous disclosure filings which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. These factors are not intended to represent a complete list of the factors that could affect IRG but should, however, be considered carefully.

Further, although the forward-looking statements contained herein are based on information currently available to IRG's management and on the current assumptions, intentions, plans, expectations, estimates, opinions, forecasts, projections and other assumptions made by IRG's management in light of its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments (such as IRG's future growth, results of operations, performance and opportunities as well as the future of the economic environment in which it operates), as well as other factors that IRG's management believes are appropriate and reasonable in the circumstances and on the date of this press release, there can be no assurance that such assumptions, intentions, plans, expectations, estimates, opinions, forecasts, projections and other assumptions will prove to be correct or that actual results will not differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements are provided herein for the purpose of giving information about IRG's current strategic priorities, expectations and plans, allowing investors and others to get a better understanding of IRGI's business outlook and operating environment. Readers are cautioned, however, that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes and should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. IRG assumes no obligation to update or revise such forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. Except as otherwise indicated, forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any nonrecurring or other special items or of any transactions that may be announced or that may occur after the date of this press release. The financial impact of these transactions and non-recurring and other special items can be complex and depends on the facts particular to each of them. IRG therefore cannot describe the expected impact in a meaningful way or in the same way it presents known risks affecting the business. IRG's forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

 

Our brands:




Pizza Delight®: www.pizzadelight.com

Scores®: www.scores.ca



Trattoria di Mikes®: www.mikes.ca

Bâton Rouge®: www.batonrouge.ca

 

SOURCE Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc.

For further information: Imvescor: 514.341.5544, http://www.imvescor.ca; Investor Relations: ir@imvescor.ca, Frank Hennessey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tania M. Clarke, Chief Financial Officer; Media Relations: ACJ Communication - Daniel Granger, 514.840.7990

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