Brinker 2Q Earnings More Than Double

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Brinker International Inc.'s fiscal second-quarter net income more than doubled, helped by lower operating costs and expenses.

    The operator of restaurants including Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy earned $37.5 million, or 41 cents per share, for the period ended Dec. 29, 2010. That's up from $18.3 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.

    Adjusted earnings increased to 38 cents per share from 25 cents per share.

    Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of 32 cents per share.

    Total operating costs and expenses dropped to $621.4 million from $682.4 million, the company said Tuesday.

    Revenue declined 5 percent to $671.9 million from $705.5 million on softness at its Chili's locations. Wall Street expected revenue of $669.8 million.

    Sales at company-owned restaurants open at least a year fell 3.5 percent, weighed down by a 4.9 percent decline at Chili's. Maggiano's results climbed 4.7 percent -- the fourth straight quarterly increase.

    This figure is a key indicator of a restaurant operator's health because it gauges results at existing restaurants instead of newly opened ones.

    Brinker, based in Dallas, currently owns, operates or franchises 1,559 restaurants under the Chili's and Maggiano's names. It also has a minority stake in Romano's Macaroni Grill.

    In morning trading, shares of the company rose $1.11, or 5.3 percent, to $22.