BURLINGTON, ON, Oct. 16, 2019 /CNW/ - SIR Royalty Income Fund (TSX: SRV.UN) ("the Fund") today announced that its Board of Trustees have elected to reduce the Fund's monthly cash distributions to unitholders by 1.75 cents due to the recent and ongoing decline in SIR Corp.'s ("SIR") food and beverage sales. The Fund's monthly cash distributions will be reduced from $0.105 per unit to $0.0875 per unit, effective for the Fund's cash distribution to be paid in November.
SIR has advised the Trustees of the Fund that same store sales¹ for its fiscal 2019 fourth quarter and year ended August 25, 2019 declined by 5.9% and 3.1%, respectively. SIR has further advised the Trustees of the Fund that its same store sales¹ performance has not improved in the first four weeks of its fiscal 2020 first quarter. The Trustees believe that the reduction in monthly cash distributions will position the Fund to meet its target payout ratio² of 100% per annum over the long term.
SIR's Management believes that its sales performance and the overall performance in the full-service restaurant industry has been impacted by changing consumer behaviour. Consumer spending at full-service restaurants in Ontario, where the majority of SIR's restaurants are located, has been restrained by a number of factors, including the impact of a minimum wage increase on menu pricing and an increasing number of consumers choosing to order through meal delivery services instead of in-restaurant dining, which has impacted beverage sales and resulted in SIR incurring selling commission obligations, among other things.
"We continue to focus our strategic efforts on capturing a greater share of the market," said Peter Fowler, CEO of SIR Corp. "We are currently concentrating our efforts on new and healthier food options, improving everyday value, promotional pricing on food and beverage offerings in non-peak periods, and increasing our share in the delivery segment."
Due to the royalty structure of the Fund, under which the Fund is indirectly entitled to receive a 6% royalty on sales by restaurants in the royalty pool, the Fund's revenues will be directly affected by any reduction or increase in SIR's applicable sales. As a result, if sales decline, the Fund's distributable cash² will also be reduced and so distributions will have to decline. The Fund's payout ratio², the ratio of cash distributed to unitholders to distributable cash² generated, is intended to average 100% per annum over the long term. The payout ratio² since the Fund's inception in 2004 up to and including the second quarter of 2019 was 99.5%, in line with the Fund's target. During 2018, the Trustees of the Fund approved two separate increases to unitholder distributions, resulting in the Fund's monthly cash distributions increasing from $0.095 per unit to $0.105 per unit, representing an increase of 10.5%. These increases were implemented to enable the Fund to continue to meet its target payout ratio² of 100% per annum.
(1) Same store sales ("SSS") and same store sales growth ("SSSG") are non-GAAP financial measures and do not have standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS. However, the Fund believes that SSS and SSSG are useful measures and provide investors with an indication of the change in year-over-year sales. The Fund's method of calculating SSS and SSSG may differ from those of other issuers and, accordingly, SSS and SSSG may not be comparable to measures used by other issuers. SSS includes revenue from all SIR Restaurants included in Pooled Revenue except for those locations that were not open for the entire comparable periods in fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018. SSSG is the percentage increase in SSS over the prior comparable period.
(2) Distributable cash and payout ratio are non-GAAP financial measures and do not have standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS. However, the Fund believes that distributable cash and the payout ratio are useful measures as they provide investors with an indication of cash available for distribution. The Fund's method of calculating distributable cash and the payout ratio may differ from that of other issuers and, accordingly, distributable cash and the payout ratio may not be comparable to measures used by other issuers. Investors are cautioned that distributable cash and the payout ratio should not be construed as an alternative to the statement of cash flows as a measure of liquidity and cash flows of the Fund. The payout ratio is calculated as cash distributed for the period as a percentage of the distributable cash for the period. Distributable cash represents the amount of money which the Fund expects to have available for distribution to Unitholders of the Fund, and is calculated as cash provided by operating activities of the Fund, adjusted for the net change in non-cash working capital items including a reserve for income taxes payable and the net change in the distribution receivable from the SIR Royalty Limited Partnership. For a detailed explanation of how the Fund's distributable cash is calculated, please refer to the Fund's MD&A for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2019, which can be accessed via the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com).
About SIR Corp.
SIR is a privately held Canadian corporation that owns a portfolio of 59 restaurants in Canada. SIR's Concept brands include: Jack Astor's Bar and Grill®, with 38 locations; Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar® with nine locations; and Canyon Creek®, with five locations. SIR also operates one-of-a-kind "Signature" brands including Reds® Wine Tavern, Reds® Midtown Tavern, Reds® Square One and The Loose Moose®. All trademarks related to the Concept and Signature brands noted above are used by SIR under a License and Royalty Agreement with SIR Royalty Limited Partnership in consideration for a Royalty, payable by SIR to the Partnership, equal to six percent of the revenue of the 58 restaurants (55 operating restaurants and one closed restaurant) currently included in the Royalty Pool. SIR also owns two Duke's Refresher® & Bar locations in downtown Toronto, and one seasonal Signature restaurant, Abbey's Bakehouse®, which are currently not in consideration to be part of the Royalty Pool. For more information on SIR Corp. or the SIR Royalty Income Fund, please visit www.sircorp.com.
About SIR Royalty Income Fund
The Fund is a trust governed by the laws of the province of Ontario that receives distribution income from its investment in the SIR Royalty Limited Partnership and interest income from the SIR Loan. The Fund intends to pay distributions to unitholders on a monthly basis.
Caution concerning forward-looking statements
Certain statements contained in this report, or incorporated herein by reference, including the information set forth as to the future financial or operating performance of the Fund or SIR, that are not current or historical factual statements may constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). Statements concerning the objectives, goals, strategies, intentions, plans, beliefs, expectations and estimates, and the business, operations, financial performance and condition of the Fund, the SIR Holdings Trust (the "Trust"), the Partnership, SIR, the SIR Restaurants or industry results, are forward-looking statements. The words "may", "will", "would", "should", "expect", "believe", "plan", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate" and other similar terminology and the negative of such expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Fund, the Trust, the Partnership, SIR, the SIR Restaurants or industry results, to differ materially from the anticipated results, performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These statements reflect Management's current expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date of this document. Readers should not place undue importance on forward-looking statements and should not rely upon this information as of any other date. Risks related to forward-looking statements include, among other things, challenges presented by a number of factors, including: market conditions at the time of this filing; competition; the increasing use of meal delivery services; changes in demographic trends; weather; changing consumer preferences and discretionary spending patterns; changes in consumer confidence; changes in national and local business and economic conditions; changes in foreign exchange; changes in availability of credit; legal proceedings and challenges to intellectual property rights; dependence of the Fund on the financial condition of SIR; legislation and governmental regulation, including the cost and/or availability of labour as it relates to changes in minimum wage rates or other changes to labour legislation; regulations (including those regarding employees, food safety, tobacco, cannabis and alcohol); accounting policies and practices; and the results of operations and financial condition of SIR. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Many of these issues can affect the Fund's or SIR's actual results and could cause their actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, the Fund or SIR. There can be no assurance that SIR will remain compliant in the future with all of its financial covenants under the Credit Agreement and imposed by the lender. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and should not place undue reliance on them. The Fund and SIR expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to publicly disclose or release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on Management's current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions, and the Fund and SIR do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change, except as expressly required by applicable securities laws.
In formulating the forward-looking statements contained herein, Management has assumed that business and economic conditions affecting SIR's restaurants and the Fund will continue substantially in the ordinary course, including without limitation with respect to general industry conditions, competition, delivery and takeout services, general levels of economic activity (including in downtown Toronto), regulations (including those regarding employees, food safety, tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol), weather, taxes, foreign exchange rates and interest rates, that there will be no pandemics or other material outbreaks of disease or safety issues affecting humans or animals or food products, and that there will be no unplanned material changes in its facilities, equipment, customer and employee relations, or credit arrangements. Recent changes in employment law, including announced increases in minimum wages, are factored into management's assumptions. These assumptions, although considered reasonable by Management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. In particular, Management has assumed that the tax effects on distributions will remain consistent with current regulations or pronouncements, and also in estimating the revenue for new restaurants, Management has assumed that they will operate consistent with other similar SIR restaurants and has assumed that SIR will remain compliant in the future with all of its financial covenants under the Credit Agreement and imposed by the lender. For more information concerning the Fund's risks and uncertainties, please refer to the March 12, 2019 Annual Information Form, for the period ended December 31, 2018, which is available under the Fund's profile at www.sedar.com. All of the forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and other cautionary statements or factors contained herein, and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, the Fund or SIR.
SOURCE SIR Royalty Income Fund
For further information: Jeff Good, Chief Financial Officer, Tel: 905-681-2997; Bruce Wigle, Bay Street Communications, Tel: 647-496-7856