Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has been making significant progress, with the help of its new REIT deal. The company had spun-off Four Corners Property Trust Inc in June, to manage the restaurant property holdings owned by DRI. Furthermore, the company directors have announced to issue regular quarterly cash dividends, to be released on November 2, 2015. The dividend is valued at $0.55 per share and will be awarded to shareholders on record as of October 9, 2015.
With the new REIT, DRI aims to enhance shareholder value, by capitalizing on the large real estate assets. Gene Lee, CEO at Darden, stated that the new REIT would manage a total of 424 restaurant properties, on behalf of Darden. Additionally, the company plans to add another 64 properties, once they have gone through sale lease-back. The returns from these properties are estimated to be about 6.25%, with an average rent of $226,000. With the returns from the new REIT, DRI has planned to write off $1 billion in debts and $100 million in repayment costs.
Additionally, Darden has also been experiencing a growth in terms of sales, at restaurants open for at least a year. Consequently, the company has updated its earnings guidance for FY2016 to $3.20 per share. Analysts have followed in pursuit, but Wall Street still anticipates a more moderate $3.13 per share. The recent changes to earning guidance were made after the company recorded $0.68 EPS for 1Q2015, this amount was twice that during the same period last year.
The 1Q2015 also revealed a 6% increase in total sales, with same restaurant sales climbing by 3.4%. The CEO of DRI stated that his company has been concentrating on cost-effectiveness, while ensuring the quality of service, food and atmosphere remain unchanged. DRI’s Olive Garden experienced an update in menu last year, in a bid to attract more customers to the restaurants.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) traded only 10 shares during the September 22 session and lost 0.81% of its share value to reach a close at $69.70.