Yum! Troubles in China Crush Forecast, Shares

KFC Restaurant
KFC Restaurant

Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) closed down 3% ahead of earnings, mostly as investors wanted to get out out of the way ahead of the fast-food giant's earnings.

Now we have the earnings, and the fourth quarter's results were $0.83 in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) and revenues of $4.15 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Yum! reported EPS of $0.75 on revenues of $4.11 billion. Thomson Reuters had estimates of $0.82 EPS in the fourth quarter and $4.12 billion in revenue.

For the full year, Yum! posted adjusted EPS of $3.25 on revenues of $13.63 billion, compared with 2011 EPS of $2.87 on revenues of $12.63 billion. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $3.24 on revenues of $13.59 billion.

On a GAAP basis, Yum! reported quarterly adjusted EPS of $0.72 and full-year EPS of $3.38.

The company's CEO said:

This marks the 11th consecutive year we delivered at least 13% growth, which puts us in an elite group of high-growth companies. We also take satisfaction with our record level of international development in 2012 which lays the foundation for future growth and makes Yum! a leader in emerging market development. … [A]s a result of adverse publicity from the poultry supply situation in mid-December, China KFC sales experienced a sharp decline. Due to continued negative same-store sales and our assumption that it will take time to recover consumer confidence, we no longer expect to achieve EPS growth in 2013.

The troubles in China have led the firm to cut its EPS forecast to a full-year loss decline for 2012 EPS in the "mid-single" digits, not including special items. Yum! expects first half sales in China to decline, but to pick up again in the second half of the year. The consensus estimate for the full-year called for EPS of $3.57 on revenues of $14.33 billion. Taking Yum!'s mid-single digit decline to be 5%, that indicates a back-of-the-envelope figure of around $3.09 for 2013 EPS.

After closing down 3% at $63.94 against a 52-week trading range of $61.05 to $74.75, shares have dropped another 4.7% to $60.77 in after-hours trading. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $73.10 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Food, Retail Tagged: featured, YUM

Originally published