TRADING SYMBOL: The Toronto Stock Exchange – AW.UN
VANCOUVER, Feb. 12, 2020 /CNW/ -
A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund (the Fund) and A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. (A&W Food Services) today reported results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019. The Fund will hold a conference call to discuss the results on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time). The call can be accessed by dialling toll-free 1-800-367-2403 or (647) 490-5367 Passcode 5080135#. A replay will be available until February 19, 2020 by dialling toll-free 1-888-203-1112 or (647) 436-0148 Passcode 5080135#.
Same Store Sales Growth was -1.9% for the fourth quarter of 2019 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 which, with +12.3% Same Store Sales Growth, was one of A&W's strongest quarters on record. The annual 2019 Same Store Sales Growth was +4.1%, following 2018's annual Same Store Sales Growth of +9.8%, bringing the two year stacked Same Store Sales Growth to +13.9%. The Same Store Sales Growth in 2019 was achieved in all concepts and was led by strong growth in BC, Quebec and Ontario.
The +4.1% annual Same Store Sales Growth, along with the sales from 38 net new restaurants that were added to the Fund's Royalty Pool on January 5, 2019 resulted in an 8.8% increase in gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool and royalty income for the year.
"We are pleased to have grown same store sales so significantly in 2019 following last year's record growth. Our guests are responding very positively to our new burger options and our continued focus on great tasting food made with high quality natural ingredients," said Susan Senecal, President and CEO of A&W Food Services.
(dollars in thousands except per unit amounts)
Sep 10, 2018 to Dec31,2018
Jan 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Same Store Sales Growth(1)
Number of restaurants in the
Gross sales reported by A&W
restaurants in the Royalty
General and administrative
Term loan and other interest
Current income tax provision
Total distributable cash generated
for distributions and dividends(3)
Distributable cashper equivalent
unit (2019 – 17,659,154 units;
2018 – 16,874,762 units)(3)(4)
Distributions and dividends
declared per equivalent unit
Net income, excluding non-cash
"Same Store Sales Growth" is calculated as the change in the gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool that operated during the entire 26 4-week periods ending December 31, 2019, and is based on an equal number of days in each quarter and year. "Same Store Sales Growth" is a non-IFRS measure – see "Non-IFRS Measures".
"Gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool" is calculated in respect of A&W restaurants in Canada in the Royalty Pool, as the amount of gross sales reported to Food Services by franchisees of such A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool without audit, verification or other form of independent assurance and the gross sales of A&W restaurants owned and operated by Food Services in the Royalty Pool, in each case, after deducting amounts for discounts for coupons and other promotional offerings and applicable sales taxes.
"Distributable cash" and "distributable cash per equivalent unit" are non-IFRS measures – see "Non-IFRS Measures". This information is provided as it identifies the amount of actual cash generated to pay distributions to unitholders and dividends to Food Services. See footnote (4) below for more information. Distributable cash is calculated as the operating cash flows of the Fund, adjusted for net changes in items of working capital. Changes in items of working capital are excluded as the Fund's working capital requirements are not permanent and are primarily due to the timing of payments between related parties. No deduction is made for capital expenditures as the Fund has no capital expenditures. Distributable cash per equivalent unit is calculated as distributable cash divided by the weighted average number units of the Fund outstanding during the relevant period.
The number of equivalent units and distributable cash per equivalent unit in 2019 is calculated on a fully-diluted basis and includes the 289,279 LP units (as hereinafter defined) representing the final consideration paid in December 2019 for the January 5, 2019 adjustment to the Royalty Pool. The number of equivalent units and distributable cash per equivalent unit in 2018 is calculated on a fully-diluted basis and includes the 263,472 LP units exchanged for 526,944 common shares of Trade Marks representing the final consideration paid in December 2018 for the January 5, 2018 adjustment to the Royalty Pool.
Net income in 2019 and 2018 includes non-cash gains and losses on an interest rate swap, amortization of deferred financing fees and deferred income taxes. These non-cash items have no impact on the Fund's ability to pay distributions to unitholders. The Fund's net income excluding these non-cash items is presented for information purposes only. "Net income excluding non-cash items" is a non-IFRS measure – see "Non-IFRS Measures".
Royalty income for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $13,539,000 based on gross sales reported by restaurants in the Royalty Pool of $451,279,000. This was an increase of 2.6% from royalty income of $13,199,000 and gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool of $439,950,000 for the fourth quarter of 2018. There were 114 days of sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 as compared to 113 days in the same quarter of 2018.
Annual royalty income was $44,470,000 based on gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool of $1,482,323,000, an increase of 8.8% from royalty income of $40,890,000 and gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool of $1,362,996,000 for 2018. The increase in sales and royalty income was due to the combined impact of the additional net 38 new restaurants in the Royalty Pool and the Same Store Sales Growth of 4.1%.
General and administrative expenses increased by $106,000 in the quarter and by $78,000 for the year. Net interest expense decreased by $243,000 in the quarter and by $301,000 for the year due to the term loan having a lower effective interest rate and interest earned on higher cash balances.
Current income taxes payable increased by $482,000 for the quarter and by $1,923,000 for the year due to an increase in income before income taxes. Total income tax including current tax, non-cash deferred income tax and refundable income tax increased by $933,000 in the quarter and by $2,318,000 for the year.
The Fund's net income under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) includes non-cash items, such as the fair value adjustment of the interest rate swap, that have no impact on the Fund's ability to pay distributions to unitholders. Therefore, net income is not the only or most meaningful measure of the Fund's ability to pay distributions and consequently, non-IFRS measures of "distributable cash", "distributable cash per equivalent unit" and "payout ratio" are reported to provide investors with more meaningful information. The payout ratio is calculated by dividing the total of (i) distributions declared per unit plus (ii) accrued distributions per unit to the last day of the quarter or year, as applicable, by the distributable cash per equivalent unit generated in that period.
The Fund's net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $10,725,000 compared to $9,823,000 for the fourth quarter of 2018 and $32,558,000 for 2019 compared to $31,575,000 in 2018. The annual increase in net income was primarily a result of a $3,580,000 increase in royalty income and the $223,000 net decrease in general and administrative expenses and interest expense, partially offset by the non-cash loss on the interest rate swap of $173,000, versus the gain of $329,000 in 2018, and a $2,318,000 increase in total income tax expense.
Distributable cash generated in the fourth quarter of 2019 to pay distributions to unitholders and dividends to Food Services was $10,210,000 compared to $10,216,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018. Distributable cash generated in 2019 to pay distributions to unitholders and dividends to Food Services was $33,143,000 compared to $31,262,000 in 2018. The $1,881,000 annual increase in distributable cash was attributable to the $3,580,000 increase in royalty income and the $223,000 net decrease in general and administrative expenses and interest expense, partially offset by a $1,923,000 increase in the current income tax provision (excluding refundable income tax).
Distributable cash per equivalent unit decreased by 3.1¢ to 57.4¢ per unit in the fourth quarter of 2019 from 60.5¢ per unit for the fourth quarter of 2018. The decrease in distributable cash per equivalent unit in the fourth quarter was attributable to the increase in current income taxes, due to an increase in operating income and a higher effective tax rate, less the increase in royalty income and the decrease in cash expenses. Annual distributable cash per equivalent unit increased by 1.0¢ to $1.863 in 2019 from $1.853 for 2018. The annual increase in distributable cash per equivalent unit was due to the increase in royalty income and the decrease in cash expenses, less the increase in current income taxes.
Four monthly distributions totalling 63.6¢ per unit were declared in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to 57.0¢ per unit in the same quarter of 2018. Total distributions declared in 2019 were $1.853 per unit compared to $1.674 per unit in 2018, an increase of 10.7%. As a result of the three increases to the distribution rate in 2019, the annual payout ratio increased to 99.5% from 90.3% for 2018.
The cumulative surplus of distributable cash on reserve at the end of 2019 was $8,091,000, compared to a reserve of $7,660,000 at the beginning of the year, an increase of $431,000.
ABOUT THE FUND
The Fund is a limited purpose trust established to invest in Trade Marks, which through its interest in A&W Trade Marks Limited Partnership (the Partnership), owns the A&W trade-marks used in the A&W quick service restaurant business in Canada. The A&W trade-marks comprise some of the best-known brand names in the Canadian foodservice industry. In return for licensing A&W Food Services to use its trade-marks, Trade Marks (through the Partnership) receives royalties equal to 3% of the gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool. A&W is the second largest quick-service hamburger restaurant chain in Canada. Operating coast-to-coast, A&W restaurants feature famous trade-marked menu items such as The Burger Family, Chubby Chicken and A&W Root Beer.
The Royalty Pool is adjusted annually to reflect gross sales from new A&W restaurants, net of the gross sales of any A&W restaurants that have permanently closed. Additional limited partnership units (LP units) are issued to A&W Food Services to reflect the annual adjustment. A&W Food Services' additional LP units are exchanged for additional shares of Trade Marks which are exchangeable for units of the Fund. The 18th annual adjustment to the Royalty Pool took place on January 5, 2020 at which time the number of restaurants in the Royalty Pool increased from 934 to 971.
As at December 31, 2019 A&W Food Services owned 20.9% of the common shares of Trade Marks, and therefore owned the equivalent of 20.9% of the units of the Fund on a fully-diluted basis.
Trade Marks' dividends to A&W Food Services and the Fund, and the Fund's distributions to unitholders are based on top-line revenues of the A&W restaurants in the Royalty Pool, less interest, general and administrative expenses and current income taxes of Trade Marks, and are thereby isolated from many of the factors that impact an operating business.
The Fund believes that disclosing certain non-IFRS financial measures provides readers of this news release with important information regarding the Fund's financial performance and its ability to pay distributions to Unitholders. By considering these measures in combination with the most closely comparable IFRS measure, if any, the Fund believes that readers are provided with additional and more useful information about the Fund than readers would have if they simply considered IFRS measures alone.
The Fund uses "Same Store Sales Growth", "distributable cash", "distributable cash per equivalent unit", "payout ratio" and "net income, excluding non-cash items" as non-IFRS measures in this report. These measures do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and the Fund's method of calculating these measures may differ from those of other issuers or companies and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other issuers or companies. For further details, including how such measures are calculated by the Fund see "Financial Highlights" above and for reconciliations of certain of these non-IFRS measures to the most closely comparable IFRS measure, see the Fund's MD&A for third quarter ended September 8, 2019, which will be filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com in due course.
Certain statements in this press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws in Canada (forward-looking information). The words "anticipates", "believes", "budgets", "could", "estimates", "expects", "forecasts", "intends", "may", "might", "plans", "projects", "schedule", "should", "will", "would" and similar expressions are often intended to identify forward-looking information, although not all forward-looking information contains these identifying words. The forward-looking information is based on assumptions that management considered reasonable at the time it was prepared. The forward-looking information is subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated by the forward-looking information. The factors which could cause results to differ from current expectations are described in the Fund's most recent Management Discussion and Analysis under the heading "Risks and Uncertainties" and the Fund's Annual Information Form under the heading "Risk Factors", available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The forward-looking information contained in this news release represent The Fund's expectations as of the date of this news release, and are subject to change after this date. The Fund assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable law.
SOURCE A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund