January 5, 2010 / 10:00 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Sonic Q1 profit misses Street; sees flat 2010 earnings

* Q1 EPS $0.10 vs est $0.13

* Q1 rev falls 26 pct to $136.5 mln

* Shares down 9 pct after the bell

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Drive-in restaurant chain Sonic Corp SONC.O posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a 26 percent dip in revenue, and forecast flat earnings for 2010 as it expects a decline in restaurant-level margins, sending its shares down 9 percent.

For 2010, Sonic expects system-wide same-store sales to fall 4 percent to 6 percent.

For the first quarter ended Nov. 30, net income attributable to Sonic was $6.2 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $7.1 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell to $136.5 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 13 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $137 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was hurt as the company refranchised 205 partner drive-ins — in which it owns a majority interest — during fiscal 2009. It now receives franchise royalties from these drive-ins instead of partner drive-in sales, Sonic said in a statement.

The company’s shares were down 9 percent at $9.30 after the bell. They closed at $10.25 Tuesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Mihir Dalal in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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