Cold US winter eats into Noodles & Co's quarterly profit

Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:15pm EST

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Restaurant operator Noodles & Co reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter results, blaming the unusually cold winter in the United States, which it also said would hurt results in the current quarter.

Shares of the company, which went public in June, fell as much as 11.5 percent in heavy trading after the bell on Wednesday.

The company, known for its Pad Thai and Mac & Cheese dishes, said nearly 80 percent of its restaurants are in areas that were severely impacted by the adverse weather, including the Mid-Atlantic, Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain West.

That, Noodles said, would hurt first-quarter revenue by 3.0-3.5 percent and shave off 3 cents per share in earnings.

Still, the company said it was confident of achieving its target of a 25 percent rise in adjusted profit in 2014.

The company reported a fourth quarter adjusted profit of 11 cents per share, lower than the analysts' average estimate of 12 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Noodles's net income rose to $2.4 million in the quarter from $1.6 million, a year earlier.

The Broomfield, Colorado-based company's total revenue rose 17 percent to $91.5 million, but fell shy of market estimates of $92.5 million.

Comparable-restaurant sales increased 4.3 percent for company-owned restaurants.

The company's shares closed at $39.55 Wednesday on the Nasdaq. The stock fell to as low as $35.00 in extended trading. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Savio D'Souza)