Financial News And Updates

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Atlanta-AFC Enterprises Inc. debuted March 2 at $19.50, a 15 percent premium over its initial public offering price of $17. The offering of the owner of Seattle's Coffee and Cinnabon was 9.38 million shares, raising $159.4 million.

AFC's Seattle's Coffee division oversees Seattle's Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia coffee shops and cafes. The company also franchises Popeyes Chicken and Church's Chicken. -Puget Sound Business Journal

Chicago-Wendy's International Inc. said it sees fiscal first-quarter per-share earnings growing at 10 percent, below its full-year target of 12 to 15 percent.

The company said earnings for the period ending April 1 are expected to be 33 cents a share, compared with 30 cents a year ago. Analysts had expected the chain to report 34 cents in the quarter and $1.71 in the year, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks earnings estimates.

The Dublin, Ohio-based company said that bad weather and price cuts from competitors, which analysts have primarily attributed to No. 2 Burger King Corp., have hurt performance. The company also said that "management expects stronger performance in the remainder of the year." -Los Angeles Times

Louisville, Kentucky-Papa John's International posted net income of $31.8 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, for fiscal 2000, versus 47.3 million and $1.52 per share in the same period a year ago. The decrease in net income was due in large part to $25.1 million in special charges for the year.

The charges related to various factors, including the impairment or disposal of certain assets, principally in the technology area; the establishment of a reserve for the portion of certain franchisee notes receivable expected to be uncollectable; and the company's planned closure of 13 under-performing restaurants in 2001. -Nation's Restaurant News

New York-Convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc. warned of weak first-quarter results due to a difficult gasoline market, a continued slowdown in consumer spending and increased utility costs.

The Dallas-based company said it expects first-quarter fully diluted earnings per share in the range of a loss of 1 cent to a profit of 1 cent, including an expected favorable impact on foreign currency conversion. -Los Angeles Times

Oak Brook, Illinois-McDonald's Corp. saw the outlook for its gilt-edged debt ratings revised to negative from stable by Moody's Investors Service, after the fast-food restaurant operator warned the growing European meat scare will reduce its first-quarter earnings.

A negative outlook means conditions are present that may lead to a future rating cut, which often leads to higher borrowing costs, not that a cut is imminent.

Sales at McDonald's are suffering because of mad cow disease, a fatal brain-wasting affliction, and the less-often-fatal but more contagious viral infection known as foot-and-mouth disease. -Reuters

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