Panera Appoints Interim CFO - Analyst Blog


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The restaurant chain Panera Bread Co. ( PNRA ) recently appointed Thomas Patrick Kelly, aged 54, as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective immediately.

The management churn comes in the wake of the resignation of Jeff Kip from the position of CFO in March 2012. Jeff Kip served as the CFO of the company since 2006 and resigned last month to join IAC/InterActiveCorp. ( IACI ), a company engaged in the Internet business in the United States and internationally.

Kelly has been appointed on an interim basis for an initial term of up to six months. Meanwhile, the Sunset Hills-based company will continue the search for a permanent CFO and Kelly's period of service may be extended on a monthly basis, if the company fails to appoint the new CEO within the deadline.

Kelly will report directly to Bill Moreton, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer. Kelly will be completely responsible for the company's financial operations during his tenure.

Kelly boasts an experience of a decade in wide range of industries like airlines, manufacturing or technology as CFO and CEO both on permanent and interim basis. Based on his rich experience and expertise, we remain positive on Kelly's appointment during this transition period.  We believe that he will do justice to the position of CFO and guide the company to new heights

In the recently completed fourth quarter 2011, the company reported adjusted earnings of $1.42 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Reported earnings of $1.31 also outpaced the year-ago level of $1.21 per share. During the quarter, total revenue rose 16% year over year to $495.8 million as system-wide comparable net bakery-cafe sales expanded 4.4%.

For full-year 2012, Panera raised its earnings per share guidance from $5.38-$5.48 to $5.50-$5.55, reflecting a year-over-year earnings growth of 18-19%. The full-year guidance represents company-owned comparable net bakery-cafe sales growth in the range of 4.5% to 5.5%, up from the previous forecast of 4.0% to 5.0%.

Panera expects first quarter 2012 earnings in the range of $1.33 to $1.35 per share and company-owned comparable net bakery-cafe sales growth of 7.0% to 7.5%.

Panera, which competes with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. ( CMG ), currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term 'Buy' rating. We are maintaining our long-term "Neutral" recommendation on the stock.

CHIPOTLE MEXICN ( CMG ): Free Stock Analysis Report
PANERA BREAD CO ( PNRA ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
More Headlines for: CMG , IACI , PNRA

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